KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri judge will try a misdemeanor case against the highest-ranking Catholic official in the U.S. to be charged with shielding an abusive priest, three weeks before it was scheduled to go to a jury trial.
Bishop Robert Finn and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph were supposed to stand trial starting Sept. 24, but prosecutors announced Wednesday that the case would instead be heard Thursday.
Both Finn and the diocese have pleaded not guilty to failure to report suspected child abuse to the state.
Jackson County, Mo., prosecutors and attorneys for the bishop and diocese have negotiated a set of stipulated facts that will be presented to Judge John M. Torrence.
A spokesman for the prosecutor's office says a verdict is expected by day's end.
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