Leaving nearly 8 months preparation time for prosecution and defense, a Jackson County Circuit Judge has set a late September trial date for the Bishop of Kansas City and St. Joseph and the diocese as an entity. The case will be a first of its kind in the nation.
Between now and September 24th there are likely to be dozens of decisions by Judge John Torrence. He will have to rule on issues of evidence and testimony.
Bishop Robert Finn and the diocese he leads are accused of failing to report suspicions of child sexual abuse. In the history of child sexual abuse scandals, a Catholic bishop and his diocese together have never been so charged in a United states court.
The charge is criminal but a misdemeanor.
The Reverend Finn allegedly waited nearly half a year before reporting images found on a priest’s computer.
Mike Mansur speaks for Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker who will personally take the case to trial. Mansur says there are--“two other attorneys on that trial team, both of them are seasoned attorneys here. One is trial team leader in sex crimes and then the head of our major crimes unit.”
The bishop and the diocese have pleaded not guilty to the charges.