Kansas City's anti-gay and "pro-life" Roman Catholic bishop has been indicted on a charge of "failing to protect children" after he and his diocese waited five months to report to police that "hundreds of images of child pornography" were discovered on a priest's computer, reports the AP.
Bishop Robert Finn becomes the first U.S. bishop criminally charged with sheltering an abusive clergyman and the "highest-rank clergyman charged" in the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandals, reports the Kansas City Star.
A Jackson County grand jury on Oct. 6 secretly indicted both Finn and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on misdemeanor charges of failure to report child abuse in a case involving a priest facing child pornography charges. As Finn and the diocese denied wrongdoing Friday after appearing in court, news of the charges roiled the nation and the Catholic world.The charges were announced Friday at a news conference by Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. "This is a significant charge," Baker said. "To my knowledge, a charge like this has not been leveled before."Finn as a member of the clergy and the diocese as the operator of schools are required under Missouri law to report reasonable suspicions of child abuse. But they did not do that for five months in the case of the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, the indictment alleges. In a statement, the diocese said its lawyers entered a plea of not guilty for the diocese.
Ratigan faces multiple child pornography charges in state and federal court. A separate lawsuit filed in June accuses Finn and the diocese of violating federal and state child pornography and child abuse laws when they allegedly concealed evidence that the priest "was creating child pornography by photographing and being sexually inappropriate with young parish girls."
The Kansas City Star has published an editorial demanding the Bishop's resignation, saying that Finn "must go."
Bishop Finn is affiliated with the Opus Dei movement. Finn has called for "war" against gay rights and pro-choice activists. Kiddie porn producing priests? Not so much.