Bishop Robert Finn enters diversion program to stave off Clay County charges

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Bishop Finn has been spared from Clay County charges for now.
  • Bishop Finn has been spared from Clay County charges for now.
As Bishop Robert Finn of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph faces misdemeanor charges in Jackson County stemming from the Rev. Shawn Ratigan child-pornography case, it was announced Tuesday that he has been spared from charges in Clay County. Prosecutor Daniel White said Finn has entered a diversion program that requires him to meet with a prosecutor to go over suspicious incidents in the diocese for five years.

In October, Finn was charged with failing to report suspected child abuse "due to 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."

White described the arrangement to The New York Times as one that removed any barriers between the diocese and his office.

"He’s the bishop; I’m the prosecutor. We’re going to meet, he’s going to tell me what’s going on, and I’m going to decide whether to call law enforcement," he told the paper.

If Finn stops cooperating, White could still file charges against him.

The Times reports that Finn said: "The children of our community must be our first priority."

Apparently that doesn't include the children that Ratigan allegedly photographed during the five months the diocese was aware that he had pornographic images of children on his laptop but didn't turn them over to authorities. He and Joe Paterno should have a hindsight party.

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