By Dan Verbeck
Kansas City, Mo. – A state court grand jury empanelled in Kansas City has indicted the Bishop and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on charges of failing to report child abuse. It is the first criminal indictment of a Catholic Bishop in the history of child abuse cases in the United States.
Bishop Robert Finn and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph are accused of waiting five months to make a report after a priest, Reverend Shawn Ratigan, was suspected of having questionable photos of young girls on his computer.
The files were discovered when the priest's laptop was sent for repairs and a technician notified the Diocese of what he'd found. Ratigan has since faced federal pornography charges.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker defined the misdemeanor charges against Bishop Finn and the Diocese. "I can assure you this has nothing, nothing to do with the Catholic faith," said Peters Baker. "This is about the facts of this case, nothing more. And this is about protecting children."
Lawyers for Bishop Finn and the Diocese say they have entered not guilty pleas for each.