January 21, 2006

Jury is impaneled for child molest trial of retired priest

San Luis Obispo Tribune

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - A jury of six men and six women, many of them religious and most of them with strong concerns about child molestation, were chosen Friday for the trial of Michael Wempe, a retired priest charged with molesting a boy in the early 1990s.
Wempe, who was chaplain at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center when the crimes allegedly occurred, has pleaded not guilty, but his attorney acknowledged in November that he did abuse 13 other boys between 1977 and 1986. Eight of them will be allowed to testify at Wempe's current trial, which begins Monday with opening statements.
Charges involving the 13 others were dismissed after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a state law in 2003 that allowed retroactive prosecution of decades-old sex crimes involving children.
The emotional issues involved in the case - sexual abuse, children and religion - led to a complicated and probing jury selection that lasted a full week.

Posted by kshaw at January 21, 2006 08:41 AM