Bishop Robert Finn was found guilty on one misdemeanor count of failing to report suspected child abuse Thursday in Kansas City, Missouri. Bishop Finn is the highest ranking U.S. Catholic official convicted in a sex abuse scandal.
Bishop Finn was sentenced to two years of court-supervised probation. A condition of Finn’s probation is that he ensures officials in his diocese are trained to recognize and report suspected abuse. Another misdemeanor charge against Finn was dismissed by the judge.
Finn’s conviction comes from a case reported in 2011 of a priest at St. Patrick’s Catholic School in Kansas City who had hundreds of child pornography photographs on his computer and young girls’ underwear hidden in a planter in his backyard. Bishop Finn confronted the priest about his “boundary issues” but did not report any abuse to the authorities.
The Outreach Director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, Barbara Dorris is concerned that the sentence is not sufficient repercussion for the cover up. Dorris commented “Only jail time would have made a real difference here and deterred future horrific cover-ups, anything less will not produce any meaningful reform…The Catholic hierarchy is notoriously secretive. When they backslide again it will be hard to catch them, everyone involved must be hyper vigilant if kids are truly to be safe.”
Media Resources: Sources: American Free Press 9/6/12; New York Times 9/6/12