Dec. 6 (UPI) -- A judge in Australia overturned the conviction of former Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson for concealing child sexual abuse Thursday, saying there were reasonable doubts about how much he knew.
Wilson, 68, resigned in July as archbishop of Adelaide after the conviction for failing to report decades-old child abuse allegations against former priest James Fletcher during the 1970s. Fletcher was convicted in 2004 of abusing nine children and died in prison.
Magistrate Robert Stone said Wilson failed to act because "he wanted to protect the church and its image."
Wilson began his term as archbishop in 2001, replacing retiring Leonard Faulkner. Prior to that, Wilson was bishop of Wollongong for five years and served as president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference from 2006 to 2010.
Wilson repeatedly denied the charges against him and Ellis said the former archbishop had been consistent in his testimony. The judge said he considered whether Wilson had taken the "reasonable position of having an open mind about the allegations, so that he would not have reported them to police until he had a strong belief they were true."