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July 26, 2016

Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirms order for new trial in Msgr. Lynn case

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has denied an appeal to again reinstate the conviction of Monsignor William J. Lynn.

State justices issued an order on Tuesday that affirmed the ruling by state Superior Court judges in December that overturned the conviction of the first Roman Catholic church official in the United States to be charged with child endangerment and ordered a new trial.

Lynn was serving a 3- to 6-year sentence in a Northeast Pennsylvania prison.

However, Lynn could be released as early as Wednesday, according to

“It’s been a long time coming,” Thomas A. Bergstrom, Lynn’s lawyer, told the legal blog. “We’ll file a bail motion first thing in the morning.”

Last December, a panel of state Superior Court judges ruled that the trial court had "abused its discretion" when admitting evidence against Lynn.

Lynn was originally convicted on a single count of endangering the welfare of a child in July 2012, but this is the second time that the case has progressed to the Supreme Court.

The conviction was then overturned by a panel of three Superior Court judges in December 2013. Lynn was ordered to be released, but the trial judge instead kept Lynn under house arrest while an appeal was heard.

Fifteen months later, the state Supreme Court reinstated Lynn's conviction and sent him back to prison in April 2015.

Lynn could still face another criminal trial, but a spokesperson for Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams was noncommittal, telling, "The Office is currently reviewing the decision."

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