Roman Catholic church official Monsignor William Lynn, who was jailed for the mishandling of priest-sex abuse complaints, may be released this week.
Lynn was convicted after one priest, Edward Avery, was found to have abused two altar boys on two separate occasions. At the time, prosecutors argued that Lynn ignored the first complaint and was therefore at fault for the second incident.
However, Lynn’s supporters believe he was used as a scapegoat for two cardinals that were never charged.
A three-judge Superior Court panel unanimously rejected arguments that Lynn ever supervised the welfare of any children, dismissing the landmark criminal case.
"He's been in prison 18 months for a crime he didn't commit and couldn't commit under the law," Thomas Bergstrom, Lynn's attorney, said. "It's incredible what happened to this man."
Bergstrom argued that under the current laws, Lynn could not have been held responsible for the care of altar boys who were abused during his role as Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Instead, the law only applied to parents and official caregivers.
If Lynn was to serve the entire length of his sentence, he would remain in jail for at least a year-and-a-half longer.