Judge rules in favor of prosecutors in Bishop Finn case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Jackson County Judge ruled in favor of  prosecutors with a trio of rulings Thursday in their cases against the Catholic Church and its leader in Kansas City

Prosecutors charged Bishop Robert Finn with two counts of failure of a mandated reporter to report child abuse.

The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph also is accused of failing to report suspected child abuse.

The charges were filed in connection with the investigation against Father Shawn Ratigan.

Ratigan faces child pornography charges in state and federal courts.

The pictures of children allegedly taken by Ratigan were found on his laptop computer by diocese officials.

In today's ruling, Judge Torrence agreed prosecutors could use statements made by people interviewed for a report on the diocese handling of two abuse cases.

Defense attorneys argued the information from the witnesses was protected by attorney-client privilege.

The judge also ruled prosecutors could use diocesan files relating to claims of abuse against five priests.

However, the ruling did order the documents be produced only for prosecutors working on the case and their support staff.

The ruling also prohibits photocopies made of the those files.

In his final ruling, the judge agreed prosecutors could. " split each of the existing counts into two counts alleging the same conduct, but dividing the conduct into two different periods of time,'' the order states.



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