Mo. bishop's bench trial averts longer jury trial

Attorneys say a bench trial for the first American bishop criminally charged in the clergy sex abuse scandal spared young victims in the case from a longer, emotional jury trial.

The split verdict still was damaging to Bishop Robert Finn, but the trial on misdemeanor charges of failing to report suspected child abuse wrapped up quickly Thursday. The judge found Finn guilty of one count and acquitted him on a second.

Similar charges against the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph have been dropped by prosecutors. The judge is expected to approve the dismissed counts Friday.

The charges stemmed from allegations that Finn and the diocese failed to report to authorities that pornographic images of children had been found on the Rev. Shawn Ratigan's laptop computer.