An appeals court in Philadelphia in the United States has reversed the conviction of Monsignor William Lynn for covering up sex abuse claims.
The BBC reports Monsignor Lynn was the first US church official to be convicted in a criminal court for covering up sex abuse claims.
He was sentenced in 2012 to three to six years in prison, but will now be released.
The court said on Thursday it had not been proven that he had acted with the "intent of promoting or facilitating the crime".
District Attorney Seth Williams said he was likely to appeal against the ruling.
As secretary for clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004, the BBC reports Monsignor Lynn was in charge of supervising about 800 priests, including investigating sex abuse claims.
The BBC reports his lawyer said the appeal court's ruling demonstrated he should never have been prosecuted.
Philadelphia is the sixth largest archdiocese in the United States, with 1.5 million members