The first hearing in the criminal case against Bishop Robert W. Finn, head of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese, has been postponed until Jan. 12.
Both Finn and the diocese were charged in October by authorities in Jackson County, Mo.,  with separate counts of failing to report suspected child abuse in the case of Fr. Shawn Ratigan, a diocesan priest who was arrested in May for child pornography.
The hearing was originally scheduled for Dec. 15. Mike Mansur, the communications director of the Jackson County prosecutor’s office, told NCR the delay came at the request of the bishop’s lawyers.
News of the delay comes about a month after Finn dodged separate charges of failing to report abuse in Clay County, Mo., by agreeing to give the prosecutor there wide-ranging oversight of diocesan review procedures  in the county.
The diocesan chancery is located in Jackson County. The parish where Ratigan last served as pastor is in Clay County.