Monday, October 17, 2011
Vatican: no comment on indictment of Bishop Finn
“Any intervention could be interpreted as interference,” noted Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office. Because a legal process is underway, he said, the Vatican will not issue comments.
Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City has become the first American bishop to face prosecution in connection with his handling of the sex-abuse scandal.
He entered a not-guilty plea on October 14, after a Jackson County grand jury indicted both the bishop and the diocese on misdemeanor charges. Lawyers representing the diocese also entered a not-guilty plea.
Bishop Finn has acknowledged that he was aware in December 2010 that child pornography had been discovered on the computer of a diocesan priest, Father Shawn Ratigan. But he did not inform police about the photos until May. Father Ratigan now faces his own trial on child-pornography charges.
While he has apologized for mishandling the case, Bishop Finn has denied criminal wrongdoing and insists that he has cooperated fully with law-enforcement officials. His lawyer promised a vigorous defense against the criminal charge.
Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker argued that after learning of the files on Father Ratigan’s computer, the bishop had probable cause to believe that children had been abused, and was therefore legally obligated to report to police. He said the criminal charge is a bid “to ensure there are not future failures to report, resulting in other unsuspecting victims.”
at 5:42 PM