Bishop Charged With Failing to Report Abuse

Case against Kansas City's Robert Finn is a first
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2011 3:12 PM CDT
This 2004 file photo provided by the Archdiocese of Kansas City shows the Rev. Monsignor Robert Finn.   (AP Photo/Archdiocese of Kansas City and St. Joseph)

(Newser) – A first in the Catholic Church's priestly sex scandals: A bishop in Kansas City has been charged with failing to report child abuse after lewd images of young girls were found on a priest's laptop, reports the Kansas City Star. A county grand jury also charged the diocese he leads with the misdemeanor. Bishop Robert Finn allegedly knew that priest Shawn Ratigan had taken hundreds of inappropriate images of girls—the indictment cites upskirt photos and at least one of a "naked vagina"—but sat on the information for five months before notifying police.

“This is a significant charge,” says Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. “To my knowledge, a charge like this has not been leveled before.” The New York Times says it's the first indictment of a Catholic bishop in the church's 25-year scandal. Ratigan, the accused priest, was charged earlier this year with child pornography. A local principal had raised a red flag to the diocese about his behavior last May, but it went nowhere. Finn pleaded not guilty today: “We will meet these announcements with a steady resolve and a vigorous defense."

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