James on Crime Crackdown: Straighten Up, or We’re “Gonna Throw Your Butt in Jail”
January 31, 2013

Mayor Sly James

Mayor Sly James

Kansas City Mayor Sly James and Police Chief Daryl Forte conceded Wednesday violence in the city “is out of control”.
The admission came at a news conference where law enforcement officials announced the results of its first sweep against hardened violent criminals in a new program called the “No Violence Alliance (NoVA).
It was announced on the same day when Kansas City police were dealing with a rash of homicides on a single day.
Tuesday, police say they made a series of arrests against a “network”, of violent crime suspects. It was the first raid under the NoVa program which was started last year. Its aim is to go after the city’s toughest criminals.
The NoVa program also offers people involved in crime an opportunity to get education, training or whatever they need to change their lifestyle. The tone, however, was a harsh one.
“We’ve had enough. We’re calling you out,” declared the Mayor, “and if you don’t, redeem yourself, we’re going to put your butt in jail”.
James conceded violence was one of the biggest issues facing the city.
He said the NoVA program is the start of what he called “waging a long, long war against violent crime.”
The NoVa program is modeled after other crackdowns on crime in Boston and Cincinnati. The get-tough-on criminals approached in combined with computer analysis of the high crime areas of the city and an examination of the people police believe are most often involved.
Authorities call this a different approach to the problem in Kansas City.
Another part of the change will be a shift in the focus of the Jackson County COMBAT program.
The COMBAT project was started to deal with the drug problem facing the city and county in the 1990’s. It has been successful. Now COMBAT’s focus will shift toward violent crime.
“We need witnesses,” pleaded Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker,”we need people to talk to the police” about crime.
Chief Forte, however, said the street code of “no snitching” is not a major problem. The Chief conceded that when people talk, investigators sometimes don’t get enough information to file charges.
The NoVA program will combine local county state and federal law enforcement and prosecutors in an effort to reduce violent crime.
Chief Forte and others cautions the program will not bring quick results.
“This is not a get-rich quick scheme. This won’t happen overnight,” the Chief said.

Prosecutor Asks to Have Finn Case Split, Wants to Add Another Count, Asks for Broad Document Search Dating Back Years
May 7, 2012

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker is asking changes in the misdemeanor charge against Kansas City Catholic Bishop Robert Finn.
He is facing one count of failing to report suspected child abuse in the case against one of Finn’s priests, Fr,. Shawn Ratigan. Ratigan is facing state and federal child abuse counts.
Baker’s office wants the one against Finn count split into two, covering different time periods.
Now the case centers around activity from December 17,2010 to May 18, 20110.
Baker wants that time divided.
If granted, one charge would cover the period from December 2010 to February 10, 2011. The second charge would cover time from February 11 through May 18, 2011.
The prosecutor’s office is also making the same request on the charges facing the Kansas City catholic Diocese, which is also facing similar charges.
In a news release Baker is quoted as saying “This is the best approach going into trial”.
Finn’s trial is set for September 24, 2012.
Baker’s office has also filed a request for discovery to look at church documents that may be involved in the case.
It is a wide-ranging request.
Prosecutors want information and any and all document dealing with potential child abuse problems in the Diocese dating back to May, 2004. That is years before the Ratigan scandal emerged.
Included in their request any “secret archive files established under Canon 489 or any other rule, doctrine or code under civil or canon authority”.
prosecutor also want detailed charts of the Diocese’s organization and the personnel records of several people believed to be past or present church employees.
A constant critic of the catholic Chuerch, Survivor’s network for those Abuses by Priests (SNAP) says the people named in the discovery request are priests who have had problems in the past.
“We also applaud Baker for seeking more information on these credibly accused pedophile priests: Fr. John Basket, Fr. Thomas Cronin, Fr. Mark Honhart, Fr. Earl Johnson, Fr. James Lawbaugh, Fr. Stephen Muth, Fr. Thomas Parrott, Fr. Bede Parry, Fr. Michael Tierney and Fr. Anthony Pileggi,” said SNAP’s Outreach Director Barbara Dorris

Judge Orders Trial Against Bishop Finn to Proceed, Denies Finn Bid to Drop the Case
April 5, 2012

A Jackson County judge has ruled decisively against Kansas City Catholic Bishop Robert Finn’s effort to have his
misdemeanor charge thrown out of court.
Judge John Torrence ruled against the bishop’s claim the law he is accused of violating is too vague.
Finn us facing one misdemeanor count of failing to report suspected child abuse immediately to the state. The charges are connected to the priest abuse scandal of Father Shawn Ratigan. Ratigan is facing a a series of federal and state child abuse charges. He is a priest in the Kansas City diocese over which Finn presides
State law requires mandated reporters to immediately report ant potential or suspected child abuse to state authorities.
Finn’s lawyers argued the law was vague and that Finn was not to the designated mandated reporter.
Judge Torrance disagreed.
He wrote the state law us not vague.
"Person of ordinary intelligence gave no difficulty understanding the meaning of ‘immediately report’".
Judge Torrence also ruled Bishop Finn did have an obligation to alert authorities of problems with Father Ratigan.
"The court funds the evidence in thus case us sufficient. to allow a jury to conclude that Bishop Finn was a designated reporter as defined in Missouri law."
"We are pleased that the case against Bishop Finn will move forward. This is the first time that a Bishop has faced criminal charges for his role in a cover-up, and we are hopeful that the full truth will come out in a trial", said the director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( SNAP).

Flash! Judy Morgan Elected to Missouri House from Mo-39
November 8, 2011

Former teacher and AFT Teacher Union President Judy Morgan has been elected to the Missouri house from Mo-39, a heavily Democratic mid-town district.

Morgan defeated real estate attorney, Republican Jamie Barker Landes in a special election Tuesday.

She fills the vacancy created when former St. Rep. Jean Peters Baker was appointed the Jackson County Prosecutor earlier this year.

The Morgan victory is a ‘hold’ for Missouri Democrats who remain in the minority in the Missouri House.

Election Day 2011: Dems Hope to Hold Two KC Seats in Missouri House
November 8, 2011

Missouri Democrats are hoping to keep two seats in the state legislature from Kansas City that are up in special elections on Tuesday.

One is the Mo-39th District. It became open when former State Rep. Jean Peters Baker was appointed as the new Jackson County Prosecutor.

Former AFT teachers Union President Judy Morgan is the Democrat in the race.

She is opposed by Republican Jamie Barker Landes. She is a real estate attorney.

Both woman says they would go to the legislature and push for more jobs and education programs for the state.

The Mo-39th is a district in mid-town Kansas City. It is, by tradition, a heavily Democratic district.

The other race will be much easier for area Democrats, becuase their candidate is unopposed.

Brandon Ellington is standing for election to the legislature from the Mo-41. Its former state represenative “Kiki” Curls was elected to the State Senate recently.

Ellington has had a rising profile in the East Side district. he ran, and lost a City Council race earlier this year, against incumbent Melba Curls.