April 26, 2005

Court overturns former priest's sex misconduct convictions


Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The state Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned the sexual misconduct charges of a former priest and elementary school counselor, ruling the state law under which he was charged was unconstitutionally broad.

On a 4-3 decision, the court ruled there is insufficient evidence that James Beine, a counselor at St. Louis' Patrick Henry Elementary School in 2000 and 2001, committed sexual misconduct when he urinated in a school bathroom in front of three male students.

Beine had worked as a counselor in the city schools for more than a decade before resigning at the time of his arrest. He was dismissed from the priesthood in 1977 over allegations of sexual abuse.

To commit sexual misconduct by indecent exposure, state law requires that the exposure be done "in a manner that would cause a reasonable adult to believe that the conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm to a child less than 14 years old."

Posted by kshaw at April 26, 2005 04:48 PM