Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bishop Robert Finn and His Merry Band of Catholics: A Timeline

Rev. Shawn Ratigan
(via CBSNews)

In 2009

Bishop Robert Finn settles lawsuits with 47 plaintiffs in sexual abuse cases for $10 million and agree[s] to a long list of preventive measures, among them to report anyone suspected of being a pedophile immediately to law enforcement authorities.

May 2010

Parish principal raises concerns, in a written report, that the Rev. Shawn Ratigan [is] behaving inappropriately around children.

Monsignor Robert Murphy, the diocese's vicar general, receives the principal's concerns, speaks with Ratigan about setting boundaries with children, and gives Bishop Finn a verbal summary of the concerns and his meeting with the priest.

[Finn acknowledged that the parish principal raised concerns in May 2010, and admitted that he didn't read the principal's report until Spring 2011.]

December 2010

A computer technician finds on Ratigan's laptop hundreds of what he called "disturbing" images of children, most of them fully clothed with the focus on their crotch areas, and a series of pictures of a 2- to 3-year-old girl with her genitals exposed. (emphasis mine)

Diocese officials report the photos -- hundreds of them -- to Monsignor Robert Murphy.

Murphy does not report the hundreds of photos to the police. Instead he called a police captain who is a member of the diocese's independent review board and described a single photo of a nude child that was not sexual in nature. (emphasis mine)

The police captain, without viewing the photo, says he was advised that although such a picture might meet the definition of child pornography, it probably wouldn't be investigated or prosecuted.

[Finn has acknowledged that he knew of the existence of the photos last December but did not turn them over to the police until May.]

May 2011

Murphy tells police Ratigan's laptop had contained hundreds of photos.

Rev. Shawn Ratigan is charged with three state child pornography counts, and in June with 13 federal counts of producing, possessing and attempting to produce child porn, [most recently during an Easter egg hunt in Spring 2011].

August 2011

A civil lawsuit is filed that asserts that between December 2010 and May 2011, Father Ratigan attended children’s birthday parties, spent weekends in the homes of parish families, hosted the Easter egg hunt and presided, with the bishop’s permission, at a girl’s First Communion.

October 2011

Bishop Robert Finn and the Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic Diocese are charged with one count each of failing to report suspected child abuse, a misdemeanor. The indictment says the bishop failed to report suspicions against the priest from Dec. 16, 2010, when the photos were discovered, to May 11, 2011, when the diocese turned them over to police:

During that period Bishop Finn and the diocese had reason to suspect that the priest, the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, might subject a child to abuse, the indictment said, citing “previous knowledge of concerns regarding Father Ratigan and children; the discovery of hundreds of photographs of children on Father Ratigan’s laptop, including a child’s naked vagina, upskirt images and other images focused on the crotch; and violations of restrictions placed on Father Ratigan.” (emphasis mine)


Rev. Shawn Ratigan has pleaded not guilty and remains jailed.

Lawyers for the diocese and Bishop Robert Finn pleaded not guilty. Finn said that he and the diocese had given “complete cooperation” to law enforcement. He also pointed to steps he had taken since the scandal first became public, which included commissioning a report to look into the case and reinforcing procedures for handling allegations of abuse.

Bottom Line

Fingers crossed Bishop Finn beats the charge and is soon back to being given a prominent role, together with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in crafting women's reproductive health legislation. Because who better to protect women from themselves than men whose religious beliefs make them competent to do a bang up job protecting children from pedophiles?

(source articles here and here)

Labels: , ,


At 2:21 PM, Blogger Voice_of_Unreason said...

Thanks for the great timeline.

Let's see... Catholic prelate learns of potentially serious misbehavior of one of his underlings, takes minimal, outside the law steps to hush up the matter, ignores important findings and evidence, and is assisted in the coverup by colleagues. Anyone seeing a pattern here?

Your last paragraph right on the money. We certainly do need a whole bunch of old guys who've never been laid crafting guidelines on women's sexuality and health issues.


Post a Comment

<< Home