KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The first criminal case against a sitting U.S. bishop in the decades-long clergy sex abuse crisis will go forward after a county judge's decision Thursday that Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese, must stand trial on charges of failing to report suspected child abuse.

The decision, released April 5 by Jackson County, Mo., Circuit Court Judge John Torrence, denies several motions Finn's lawyers had brought in the case, arguing that charges against the bishop should be thrown out over questions of constitutionality and whether Finn can be considered a "mandated reporter" according to Missouri law. "The Court finds that the evidence in this case is sufficient to allow a jury to conclude that Bishop Finn was a designated reporter as defined by Missouri law," Torrence wrote in his decision.  Continues...

Bishp Rober.t Finn, of Kansas City, Mo., leaves a meeting at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' annual fall assembly in Baltimore, Monday, Nov. 14, 2011. Finn was indicted in October for waiting five months to tell police about hundreds of images of alleged child pornography that were found on a priest's computer. He is the highest-ranking church member in the sex abuse scandal to face criminal charges. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

 

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