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Landmark conviction of Catholic official overturned again

PHILADELPHIA - The landmark conviction of a Roman Catholic church official imprisoned over his handling of abuse complaints in Philadelphia has been overturned for the second time.

Monsignor William Lynn has been on a legal roller coaster since his 2012 trial on child endangerment charges.

A Superior Court ruling Tuesday awarded Lynn a new trial.

His lawyers say the trial judge allowed too many victims not closely related to his case to testify. They also say the law did not apply to church supervisors when he was secretary for clergy.

Pa. court throws out priest's conviction in abuse case

Lynn has been back in prison since the conviction overturned in 2013 was reinstated.

He has served about two years of his three-to-six year term.

Defense lawyer Thomas Bergstrom says he will seek to have Lynn released from an upstate Pennsylvania prison.

Lynn was the first U.S. church official ever convicted in the handling of abuse complaints. But a state appeals court ruled in 2013 that the state's child-endangerment law in the late 1990s did not apply to supervisors like Lynn.

During his tenure as secretary for clergy for the archdiocese from 1992 until 2004, Lynn documented hundreds of abuse complaints against priests and then locked them in a secret archives room. Many of the accused priests were transferred to new parishes without warning, although Lynn said he often tried to get them and their victims help.