Priest Freed After Overturned Conviction

A Roman Catholic church official who won an appeal of his conviction in a child-endangerment case left state prison Thursday after 18 months in jail.

Msgr. William Lynn left the Waymart prison in northeastern Pennsylvania, spokeswoman Terri Fazio said, and was expected to be fitted with an electronic monitoring device and then released.

An appeals court overturned Msgr. Lynn’s conviction last week, saying the felony child-endangerment law he was convicted of didn’t cover people who don’t directly supervise children.

Msgr. Lynn, 62, was the first U.S. church official ever charged for hiding complaints that priests were molesting children. He was the point person for those complaints in Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004.

Prosecutors have until Jan. 25 to file their petition asking the state Supreme Court to hear the case. It could take another few months, or more, for the court to decide whether to consider it.

The monsignor’s attorney, Thomas Bergstrom, declined to say where in Philadelphia his client will live while prosecutors appeal the Superior Court ruling.

Msgr. Lynn remains a priest in good standing with the church, and could return to ministry. He last served as pastor of St. Joseph’s in Downingtown, an affluent suburban parish whose members supported Msgr. Lynn at his trial.

A spokesman for the archdiocese didn’t immediately return a phone message Thursday.