Judge denies motions to dismiss, sends Kansas City diocese & Bishop Robert Finn to trial

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Jackson County judge on Thursday denied motions filed by the Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic Diocese and Bishop Robert Finn to dismiss charges in a child porn case.

Kansas City Circuit Judge John Torrence also denied a request to sever parties, which would have allowed the diocese and Finn to face the charges separately.

You can read Thursday's ruling in PDF format by visiting: http:// bit.ly / HkJr8q

Both are charged with a misdemeanor count of failure of mandated reporter to report, stemming from child porn allegations levied against former Kansas City priest Shawn Ratigan.

A trial date for Sept. 24 was set earlier this year.

Ratigan is awaiting trial in Clay County and federal courts on child porn charges.

According to the initial indictment filed against Finn and the diocese, they had reasonable cause to suspect that a child may be subjected to abuse because of, among other things, previous knowledge of concerns regarding Ratigan and children and the discovery of hundreds of photographs of children on Ratigan's laptop.

"We were pleased to read Judge Torrence's ruling today," Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said in a statement. "Our office will continue to prepare diligently for trial in this case."

Baker's feelings on the ruling were echoed by David Clohessy, St. Louis Executive Director of SNAP, a victims advocates group that has assisted in the filing of several civil lawsuits against the Kansas City diocese on behalf of alleged victims of sexual abuse. He sent the below statement:

"We are pleased that the case against Bishop Finn will move forward. This is the first time that a Bishop has faced criminal charges for his role in a cover-up, and we are hopeful that the full truth will come out in a trial. For too long have church officials been able to stymie justice and truth by hiding behind legal technicalities and high-priced attorneys. We are excited that the public now has the opportunity to hear the full story of what really has gone on in Kansas City."

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