(CNN)The former Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson, who was found guilty in May of concealing the abuse of altar boys in the 1970s by pedophile priest James Fletcher, has successfully appealed his conviction.
Philip Wilson, Australian Archbishop, has conviction for covering up child sex abuse overturned
A court in New South Wales on Thursday ruled in favor of Wilson, saying there was reasonable doubt the clergyman had ever committed the crime, according to a statement from New South Wales Courts.
The 68-year-old Wilson had been the highest-ranking Catholic official ever to be convicted of covering up sex abuse. He avoided prison after a court earlier sentenced him to home detention under his sister's custody.
Wilson resigned his post in July, even as he continued efforts to appeal the original conviction.
The original guilty verdict against Wilson was seen as a pivotal moment with potentially far-reaching implications for other clergy members implicated in the child sex abuse scandal that's engulfed the Catholic Church globally.
Wilson was an assistant priest when Fletcher, a Catholic priest based in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, abused altar boys in the mid-1970s.
Prosecutors had argued the Archbishop failed to report the abuse to authorities, allowing Fletcher to remain in the clergy and abuse other children.
Wilson and Fletcher went their separate ways after 1976. Wilson then begin his climb through the church's hierarchy, an assent which took him to the role of Archbishop of Adelaide in 2001.