Bishop Robert W. Finn and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, which he heads, entered pleas of not guilty to misdemeanor charges of failure to report child abuse. The charges were brought in connection with the diocese’s handling of the case of the Rev. Shawn Ratigan. “Bishop Finn denies any criminal wrongdoing and has cooperated at all stages with law enforcement, the grand jury, the prosecutor’s office” and the independent commission appointed by the diocese to study the matter, said Gerald Handley, the bishop’s attorney. The charge against Bishop Finn carries a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and one year in jail. Father Ratigan was arrested in May on charges of possessing child pornography. In August federal prosecutors charged him with producing child pornography. In early September, an independent report commissioned by the diocese to examine its policies and procedures on assessing child sexual abuse allegations found “shortcomings, inaction and confusing procedures.” The report also said that “diocesan leaders failed to follow their own policies and procedures for responding” to abuse claims.
Bishop Finn Indicted