Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn and the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph have been indicted on failure to report child abuse charges. The charges are misdemeanors. Here is the statement of the Kansas City-Saint Joseph Diocese regarding the indictments. Go here for the details. A few observations:
1. The charges stem from child pornography found on a priest’s, Shawn Ratigan’s, computer in December 2010. The pictures were turned over to the authorities in May of this year. This was far too slow. The diocese was conducting its own internal investigation of Ratigan, but bishops should not attempt to play cop. Whenever such evidence surfaces it must be turned over to the authorities pronto.
2. The prosecutor Jean Peters Baker is a fanatic pro-abort. A former Democrat member of the Missouri House, she resigned when she was appointed as Kansas City prosecutor in May of this year. I suspect that she intends to use Bishop Finn’s scalp to ride to higher political office. She claims that this was all the grand jury’s doing and not hers which is risible. Grand juries are the tools of the prosecuting attorneys and will, as the saying goes, normally indict a ham sandwich if that is what the prosecutor wants.
3. Failure to report suspicion of sexual abuse is rarely prosecuted as demonstrated by the fact that Planned Parenthood abortion clinics routinely abort underage girls, and no Planned Parenthood affiliate has ever been successfully prosecuted for failure to report suspected sexual abuse of a minor.
4. Bishop Finn made a big mistake by his failure to immediately go to the cops with the child porn, and he has handed a weapon to an enemy of the Church to score points against the Church. However, much more important than that is his failure to recognize that his first duty was to protect children from a priest who was obviously a danger to them. When this happens in the future bishops have to run, not walk, to the cops immediately and throw this into their laps.
Update: Go here to read the report on this mess commissioned by the Bishop. It is unsparing in its analysis and its conclusions of what went wrong in the Bishop’s handling of this matter.