RULING ANGERS ABUSE VICTIMS (Will free some sex offenders in California)


Lawrence Lovell, a defrocked priest, was awaiting trial on charges of molesting four altar boysbetween 1980 and 1984, when at 2:26 a.m. Friday, he left the Los Angeles County jail after lessthan a week behind bars. He was one of the first out. Twelve hours later, Michael Wempe, anotherformer priest, left his jail cell with a smile on his face. His bail had been set two weeks ago at$2 million, he has been charged with molesting five boys 20 years ago. They both denied the chargesagainst them. At hearings this week, their cases likely will be dismissed. Prosecutors scramble tocome to grips with the repercussions of a Supreme Court decision invalidating a California law thathad allowed decades-old child molestation cases to be prosecuted. Hundreds of people besides Lovelland Wempe, some convicted, some confessed, some still awaiting trial, who will be released fromjails and prisons across California as a result of Thursday's decision. The law had essentially'NULLified the state's three-year statute of limitations on sex crimes. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4that the law was unconstitutional because is was made retroactive to past crimes. Friday morning,charges against Stephen Kiesle, a former priest, were withdrawn. He told investigators he hadmolested a number of children three decades ago. Kiesle, who used to call himself the pied piperof his neighborhood, had served time in the late 1970s in a separate child molestation case.

(Los Angeles, California)