Today, Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failing to report suspected child abuse by a priest. The diocese was similarly charged and also entered a not guilty plea. The indictment was returned by a Jackson County, Mo., grand jury and unsealed today.
Unlike so many of the sex abuse cases involving Catholic clergy, this is not an old case only now coming to light. The diocese and the bishop had received complaints about the Rev. Shawn Ratigan last year and last December found child pornography on his computer. They did not turn over the photos to police. In the meantime, they relieved Ratigan of his duties as a parish priest, but he remained in the diocese and attempted to take inappropriate photos of a 12-year-old girl. He was arrested in May.
Failure to report is
a Class B misdemeanor in Kansas Class A misdemeanor in Missouri [pdf], with a maximum prison term of 6 months maximum prison term of one year. It’s too much to expect that he’ll get the max, but if Finn is convicted, I sure hope he gets to spend a few nights in stir.
Whenever I point out that money given to the Catholic Church goes to support child rape, I get a bunch of excuses (it happens everywhere that organizations deal with children, it was mainly in the past, not condoned by the leadership anymore, etc.) This happened last Christmas, and the head man in charge was just indicted, not some flunky. The next time any Catholics think about putting money into the collection plate, you might as well cut out the middleman and throw in a bottle of lube and some wet wipes.