Bishop Finn Indicted
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Oct 15, 2011 at 08:47:45 AM EST
Robert Finn, the controversial Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, has been indicted by a Jackson County Grand Jury on misdemeanor charges of failing to report child abuse.

This is the first time a head of a diocese has ever been charged with a crime for failing to report pedophile behavior on the part of one of his subordinate priests.

As I reported here and here, Bishop Finn, previously best known for his Opus Dei vision of the Church and society, had constructive knowledge of improper touching of young girls and possession of child pornography by Father Shawn Ratigan (who has since been charged with the latter crime).  And as I wrote in my last piece:  It is not only time for Bishop Finn to go; it is time for him to go jail.

Missouri State Law makes it a misdemeanor crime not to report such behavior.

The Kansas City Star broke the news of the indictment:

A Jackson County grand jury has indicted Bishop Robert Finn and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on misdemeanor charges of failure to report child abuse.

The charges, announced at a news conference today, make Finn - leader of the 134,000-member diocese - the highest-ranking Catholic official in the nation to face criminal prosecution in a child sexual abuse case.

The charges stemmed from the long-simmering controversy surrounding Father Shawn Ratigan, who is facing child pornography charges in Clay County and federal court.

"This is a significant charge," said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. "To my knowledge, a charge like this has not been leveled before.

Both Finn and the diocese entered pleas of not guilty.  If convicted, Finn faces up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine; the diocese only faces a fine of $5,000.

The indictment's graphic description of the photographs of children Ratigan had on his computer is disturbing.  But even more disturbing is the allegation that Bishop Finn sat on the evidence for over five months. If the charge is proven in court, then Finn should be given the maximum penalties.

An indictment of a prelate was bound to happen. The Church's reactions to calls by members to fix the problem of pedophile priests, have too often ranged from disinterest to cover-up. Now that Jackson County has broken the ice, indictments from other jurisdictions may follow.  A Grand Jury in Clay County, MO for one is considering similar charges.

Maybe the Church will hear us now.




Display:
He must be removed in order for healing to truly begin, both in Kansas City-St Joe and in the Church.

I also would include a defrocking in that exit.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Sat Oct 15, 2011 at 09:03:13 AM EST


You're right about what Finn should do, but I think he and his claque, to say nothing about his curial supporters, will fight tooth and nail to keep Finn in office and free of criminal charges. Screaming Bill will probably have a lot to say in Finn's favor.

by khughes1963 on Sat Oct 15, 2011 at 12:44:48 PM EST
I'm on the Catholic League's email list, and I've been waiting for the "Those Liberal secularists have gone too far, now!" blasts.

by trog69 on Sat Oct 15, 2011 at 07:48:40 PM EST
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I haven't seen Bill's latest screed, but I am sure he will be giving free PR to Bishop Finn.

by khughes1963 on Mon Oct 17, 2011 at 08:53:03 PM EST
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When I saw this story in the weekly Talk2Action update, I thought I must be dreaming. After all, NO bishops have paid any price for the sexual scandals for which they are most responsible with their endless cover-ups for the errant priests. I wonder if the Catholic Church will now act as decisively against Finn as it acts against members who advocate for the ordination of women (ooooh ... scary!). I'm betting on "no."

I too wonder like the previous two posters, if the right-wing defenders of the church's "purity" will whine and make excuses and complain that Finn is being persecuted by "liberals." But things like this are the reason my Episcopal Church is brimming with former Catholics. I just ran into an acquaintance the other night at OccupyCleveland who said she's thinking of coming to our church because she wants community for her kids and doesn't think the church she was brought up in (Catholic) can fill their needs.

by anastasia p on Sun Oct 16, 2011 at 06:36:40 PM EST


Looking over and reading many articles about this typical failed American CEO management style practiced by Bishop Finn, I have to say that it is the role of females who have brought this crime (misdemeanor) to the attention of the world.

That it was a female IT tech cleaning Ratigan's laptop that started the ball rolling whereby at least a half dozen people on the Diocese payroll, consultants, clergy, lawyer (?) etc. did not follow through on her original nasty discovery. Those half dozen played musical chairs with the laptop and contents for far too long.

That it was a female prosecutor that finally came through, in a long overdue manner with a meager amount of humanity and or justice.

Speaking about Bill D at CL as mentioned in one of the comments, I see they deleted an October 9, 2011 article "LUDICROUS ATTACK ON BISHOP FINN (still cached and readable) attacking an excellent article by National Catholic Reporter Phyllis Zagano, a female, June 8, 2011," Who are these guys and where did they come from?".

(aside) Also, I see another National Catholic Reporter article dated October 16th  "Charge against Kansas City bishop the temper of the times" by John Allen Jr. has disappeared from the web and is not cached.

Back on subject - It is the force of female caring, feminine morality, that is the hope of this church run now by obsolete despotic male only management.  


by Mike McShea on Mon Oct 17, 2011 at 03:17:24 PM EST

It was the women who had the courage to do the right thing. I am not a technician, but I have enough computer skills to know that the things you download and save on your hard drive will stay there even if you delete them, unless you use software to completely erase the drive or physically destroy it. One wonders whether Ratigan just was stupid enough to fail to realize the technician was readily able to see his stash on the hard drive. That is how the child porn addicts get caught, that and trading online.

by khughes1963 on Mon Oct 17, 2011 at 08:57:40 PM EST
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