In First, US Bishop Convicted in Porn Coverup Resigns
Missouri's Robert Finn was under pressure after failing to report priest's porn
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 21, 2015 8:06 AM CDT
Rev. Shawn Francis Ratigan.   (AP Photo/Clay County Detention Center, File)
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(Newser) – Pope Francis today accepted the resignation of a US bishop who pleaded guilty to failing to report a priest suspected of child abuse in the first known case of a pope sanctioning bishops for covering up for pedophiles. The Vatican said today that Bishop Robert Finn had offered his resignation under the code of canon law that allows bishops to resign early for illness or some "grave" reason that makes them unfit for office. It didn't provide a reason. Finn, who leads the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri, waited six months before notifying police about the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, whose computer contained hundreds of lewd photos of young girls taken in and around churches where he worked. Ratigan was sentenced to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.

Finn pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failure to report suspected abuse and was sentenced to two years' probation in 2012. Ever since, he has faced pressure from local Catholics to step down; he's the first American bishop removed for covering up for guilty clergy and is the highest-ranking US church official to be convicted of failing to act on abuse allegations. The Vatican's failure to sanction or remove him had fueled victims' complaints that bishops were continuing to enjoy protections even under the "zero tolerance" pledge of Francis. Even Francis' top sex-abuse adviser had said publicly that Francis needs to "urgently" address Finn's case, though he later stressed that Finn deserved due process. Finn's resignation comes as Francis is facing similar pressure to remove a Chilean bishop, Juan Barros, over his longtime affiliation with Chile's most notorious molester, the Rev. Fernando Karadima.
 

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