Australian archbishop cleared of child sex abuse cover-up

NEWCASTLE, Australia (AP) — An Australian appeal court has overturned a conviction against the most senior Roman Catholic cleric ever found guilty of covering up child sex abuse.

New South Wales state District Court Judge Roy Ellis on Thursday upheld former Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson's appeal against his May conviction for concealing the sexual abuse of two altar boys by a pedophile priest in the 1970s. Ellis found there is reasonable doubt that the 68-year-old cleric had committed the crime, which is punishable by up to two years in prison.

Wilson has served almost four months of a year-long home detention sentence at his sister's house outside Newcastle. He was to become eligible for parole after serving six months.

The judge also dismissed a prosecution appeal against the leniency of the sentence.