Trial judge holds fate of imprisoned Philly monsignor, cleared on appeal of child endangerment

A Roman Catholic church official's freedom is in the hands of a Philadelphia judge after his high-profile conviction was reversed on appeal.

Monsignor William Lynn is the first church official ever prosecuted over his handling of priest-abuse complaints. Lynn has spent 18 months in prison for felony child endangerment.

But the Superior Court threw out his conviction Thursday, saying the law did not apply in the late 1990s to church supervisors like Lynn. The ruling says Lynn never should have been charged.

The appeals court, though, stopped short of releasing him, and sent the bail issue back to the trial judge, Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina.

Lynn's lawyers don't know when she'll rule.

District Attorney Seth Williams hopes to restore the conviction through his own appeal.