The Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and his diocese have been indicted on charges of failure to report suspected child abuse when child pornography was found on a computer of a priest of the bishop’s diocese. The charge makes Bishop Robert Finn, affiliated with the conservative Opus Dei movement, the highest-ranking Catholic official to face criminal prosecution in a child sex abuse case.
The charge relates to child pornography charges against Father Shawn Ratigan, who is accused of taking lewd photographs of underage girls. The diocese failed to report their suspicion that Ratigan may have abused a child after discovering the pornographic images on his computer in December, 2010. It was not reported to the police until May 11, 2011.
The New York Times reports that, “Stoking much of the anger is the fact that only three years ago, Bishop Finn settled lawsuits with 47 plaintiffs in sexual abuse cases for $10 million and agreed to a long list of preventative measures, among them to immediately report anyone suspected of being a pedophile to law inforcement authorities.”
It remains unclear why Bishop Finn did not adhere to his own directive in this case.