A bishop in the Roman Catholic Church has been indicted for failure to report suspected child abuse, the first time in the 25-year history of the church’s sex abuse scandals that the leader of an American diocese has been held criminally liable for the behavior of a priest he supervised.

The indictment of the bishop, Robert W. Finn, and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph by a county grand jury was announced on Friday. Each was charged with one misdemeanor count involving a priest accused of taking pornographic photographs of girls as recently as this year. They pleaded not guilty.

The case caused an uproar among Catholics in Kansas City this year when Bishop Finn acknowledged that he knew of the photographs last December but did not turn them over to the police until May. During that time, the priest, the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, is said to have continued to attend church events with children, and took lewd photographs of another young girl.

A decade ago the American bishops pledged to report suspected abusers to law enforcement authorities — a policy also recommended last year by the Vatican. Bishop Finn himself had made such a promise three years ago as part of a $10 million legal settlement with abuse victims in Kansas City…

“This is huge for us,” said Michael Hunter, director of the Kansas City chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and a victim of sexual abuse by a priest. “It’s something that I personally have been waiting for years to see, some real accountability. We’re very pleased with the prosecuting attorney here to have the guts to do it…”

In a news conference, the Jackson County prosecutor, Jean Peters Baker said the case was not religiously motivated, but was about the obligation under state law to report child abuse.


  1. Cursor_ says:

    It is about time that they be brought to justice.

    Now let us get the other ones from other faths as well.


  2. Drive By Poster says:

    By all rights, all those bishops and arch bishops should have been charged with conspiracy to harm minors, facilitating child molestation, aiding and abetting a criminal after the fact as well as before the fact, etc.

    If the owner of a chain of child care centers had been buying the silence of victims’ families (on the cheap, no less) for child molestation by known child molesters and then simply rotating those known child molesters to other branches of the chain, that owner would be in prison for Life already. What I described is essentially what all those catholic diocese did with their child molesting priests. Yet they’re all still walking around free as birds.

  3. robnee says:


  4. bobbo, the evangelical anti-theist says:

    Its always fun to exercise one’s prejudices.

    While the charge is a misdemeanor with fines and jail for up to a year, its doubtful anything except probation will be the result. Maybe thats OK for mere failure to report BUT I assume this guy was in a supervisor role? That means he kept the pervert in a position to keep doing what he was doing. An on going violation of the kiddies. Sure seems to me that more than a single misdemeanor was going on.

    On the other hand, what were these lewd pictures of? I assume it is of girls doing things in public. Maybe a bit too much leg or even some undies? Not a pin hole in the showers?

    As usual===I don’t know what is more screwed up and incompetent: This blogs systemic organization to stifle the exchange of ideas, the Catholic Church, or our government.

    Its a conundrum I tells ya.

    • Thomas says:

      Ah, but don’t forget that this priest will be branded a sex offender for life. In most States (dunno about KS), that means his whereabouts are tracked and he can’t get within a certain distance of places where children are known to congregate. Hopefully, KS has those same laws.

      • bobbo, the evangelical anti-theist says:

        Good point. The “least” that should happen===depending on what the underlying activity actually was.

  5. seetheblacksun says:

    Geez, a misdemeanor count. Oh well, I suppose it’s a start.

  6. So what says:

    Well this can’t be true, it says the victims were girls.

  7. Skeptic says:

    They pleaded not guilty.

    Oh well, maybe next time.

  8. Dallas says:

    Wow! How many Hail Mary’s is that?

  9. JimD says:

    The Computer Tech who found the “porn” should have gone directly to the Police ! That way the GUILTY could have been prosecuted sooner, without all the coverup and other malfeasance going on in the church. Of course the Tech would never work for the church again though …


Bad Behavior has blocked 3877 access attempts in the last 7 days.