In charging the bishop of Kansas City with failure to report child abuse, prosecutors in Missouri have done something unprecedented in the long, troubling saga of the sexual abuse scandal in the U.S. Roman Catholic Church: hold a member of the church hierarchy criminally accountable for the alleged crimes of a priest.
What remains to be seen is whether the indictment of Bishop Robert Finn will be an isolated event or will encourage prosecutors elsewhere to investigate allegations of coverup against members of the church leadership.
- STORY: Praying perpetually to save society
- STORY: Los Angeles Archdiocese hopes to raise $100 million for Catholic schools
- STORY: Retired priest accused of sexually abusing boys
- Abusive Behavior
- Roman Catholicism
- See more topics »
Prosecutors announced Friday that Finn had been charged with a single misdemeanor count of failure to report child abuse after he allegedly learned — but failed to tell authorities — that a priest in his diocese had a laptop computer containing hundreds of images of child pornography. Finn's diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph was also charged.
"I can assure you that this has nothing — nothing — to do with the Catholic faith," Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said in announcing the indictments. "This is about the facts of this case, and this is about protecting children."Catholic bishop in Kansas City, Mo., charged in sex abuse case - chicagotribune.com