First Catholic Bishop Sentenced in Child Sex Abuse Cover-Up
Robert W. Finn has become the first Roman Catholic bishop found guilty of protecting a pedophile priest.
Finn, the bishop of Kansas City, was found guilty of one misdemeanor charge of failing to report a priest who had taken hundreds of pornographic pictures of young girls. Finn faced a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, but instead received two years of court-supervised probation.
The case was expected to produce a sensational trial, originally scheduled to begin next month. But prosecutors decided to skip a jury trial and have Judge John Torrence decide the case in a brief court hearing that lasted little more than an hour.
Finn’s conviction stemmed from the case of Reverend Shawn Ratigan, who got into trouble in 2010 after it was discovered he had photographs of young girls’ genitalia on his computer. Ratigan tried to kill himself the day after the images were discovered, survived and later received treatment. On August 2 he pleaded guilty to producing child pornography.
Bishop Finn oversaw Ratigan’s attempted rehabilitation, during which the priest was barred from going near children, but was not monitored. Ratigan continued to take lewd photos of underage females, prompting church officials to report him to the police. But Finn did not go along with the decision to alert authorities, which resulted in him being charged.
Finn and the diocese still face 27 civil suits.
To Learn More:
Defying Canon and Civil Laws, Church Failed to Stop a Priest (by Laurie Goodstein, New York Times)
Kansas City Bishop Convicted of Shielding Pedophile Priest (by John Eligon and Laurie Goodstein, New York Times)
First Indictment of Catholic Bishop in Cover-Up of Sex Abuse Case (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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