The first Roman Catholic priest in the United States imprisoned for covering up the crimes of offending priests was ordered to be released Thursday after an appeals court reversed his conviction, reports CNN. Monsignor William Lynn, 62, who has been in prison since he was convicted in July 2012, was expected to be released as soon as Friday. He was convicted of one count of child endangerment and sentenced to three to six years.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said his office likely will appeal the ruling. “I am disappointed and strongly disagree with the court’s decision,” he said. Lynn’s conviction was for not removing a defrocked priest, Edward Avery, from active ministry in the 1990s after learning Avery had molested a teen. According to philly.com, Lynn’s attorneys convinced the three-judge Superior Court panel that the laws at the time only applied to people who directly supervised children.