Top Stories Of The Week | KCUR

Top Stories Of The Week

Sep 8, 2012

Supporters of two ballot initiatives gave up. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver was a hit at the Democratic National Convention.

And Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert Finn became the highest-ranking Catholic official to ever be convicted of a criminal offense. KCUR's Steve Bell looks back at those and other top stories on this week's Saturday News Review.


Bishop Convicted Of Failure To Report Ratigan

Plans for a trial for the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese and its bishop suddenly changed on Wednesday. No jury would hear the case. A judge would review the facts and rule on them the following day.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker explained that one reason for the change was to spare parents of victims the stress of having to come into court and viewthe  lewd pictures of their children found on the computer of former priest Shawn Ratigan.

The court put the onus on the bishop. Charges against the diocese were dismissed. And Bishop Robert Finn was convicted of failure to report suspected sexual abuse of a child. Finn delivered a short statement to the court and the public in which he condemned abuse of any kind and expressed regret for the hurt experienced by Ratigan's victims and their families.

The sentence was 2 years' probation plus stipulation that Finn would provide child abuse recognition and reporting training for priests and others he oversees and establish a $10 thousand fund to provide counseling for victims. David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said that after decades of scandal, it’s about time a Bishop was punished.

On Friday, Clohessy's group picketed the diocesan headquarters, calling for Finn to be rebuked and demoted by the Vatican.

Kansas City Congressman A Hit At DNC

Many delegates didn't know who Congressman Emanuel Cleaver was when he stepped to the rostrum Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention, but before he had finished his speech, the Kansas City lawmaker and minister had the crowd on its feet with a revival-esque message about hope and unity. Cleaver, who is chair of the House Black Caucus, said he was talking to all Americans, not just to Democrats.

Statue Protesters Turn In Petitions For Grand Jury

A group protesting a bare-breasted female statue at the Overland Park Arboretum said it turned in 1,000 more signatures than needed to convene a grand jury to investigate whether the work is obscene.

Proponents Give Up On November Vote On Payday Loans, Minimum Wage

Meanwhile, groups pushing for two Missouri ballot issues gave up their effort to prove that they did have enough signatures. There will be no November vote on capping payday loan interest or on raising Missouri's minimum wage. The advocates claim that business groups including the payday loan industry secretly financed the campaign to block their efforts.

Schweich Audit Blasts Nixon For Charges To Departments

Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich released an audit accusing Governor Jay Nixon of overspending his office appropriation by $1.7 million.

Schweich said the governor has done that by looking for ways to charge travel and salary expenses for his office to other state agencies.

Last spring the General Assembly passed rules barring state agencies from paying for the Governor’s travel or staff.  Nixon’s office released a statement saying the accounting accurately reflects the nature of the work performed.