About-face: Wyoming prosecutor to re-examine ex-KC priest’s sex abuse case, police say

Kansas City Star

June 19, 2020

By Judy L. Thomas

A bizarre twist surfaced Friday in what was thought to be the closed criminal sexual abuse case of a former Kansas City priest who later became a Wyoming bishop.

The prosecutor, whose office last week informed one of the alleged victims that no charges would be filed against retired Bishop Joseph Hart, is now going to re-examine the case, according to Cheyenne police, who conducted the investigation.

Police spokesman David Inman said Friday that Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen in Casper, who was serving as special prosecutor on the case, had “misinterpreted” part of the probable cause statement that police had sent him. The document recommended that charges be filed against Hart, who retired as Bishop of Cheyenne in 2001.

“Basically, some new information came to light during our meeting,” Inman said, “and now they’re going to re-examine what they have.”

Inman said Cheyenne police spoke with Itzen in a conference call Friday.

“It was something that we brought to his attention in the PC (probable cause) affidavit,” he said. “Upon reviewing all the paperwork, they looked at something and they’d misinterpreted what was said. So now, there’s an understanding of what we were trying to get across.”

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