Author Topic: KC bishop charged for not bringing porn to police  (Read 1231 times)

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Offline stevusmagnus

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KC bishop charged for not bringing porn to police
« on: October 14, 2011, 07:15:28 PM »
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  • http://sg.news.yahoo.com/kc-bishop-charged-not-bringing-porn-police-185423369.html

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City's Catholic bishop has become the highest-ranking U.S. Catholic official indicted on a charge of failing to protect children after he and his diocese waited five months to tell police about hundreds of images of child pornography discovered on a priest's computer, officials said Friday.

    Bishop Robert Finn, the first U.S. bishop criminally charged with sheltering an abusive clergyman, and the Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic Diocese have pleaded not guilty on one count each of failing to report suspected child abuse.

    Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said Finn and the diocese were required under state law to report the discovery to police because the images gave them reason to believe a child had been abused.

    "Now that the grand jury investigation has resulted in this indictment, my office will pursue this case vigorously," Baker said. "I want to ensure there are no future failures to report resulting in other unsuspecting victims."

    The indictment, handed down Oct. 6 but sealed because Finn was out of the country, 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.

    Finn denied any wrongdoing in a statement Friday and said he had begun work to overhaul the diocese's reporting policies and act on key findings of a diocese-commissioned investigation into its practices.

    "Today, the Jackson County Prosecutor issued these charges against me personally and against the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph," said Finn, who officials said was not under arrest. "For our part, we will meet these announcements with a steady resolve and a vigorous defense."

    Finn faces a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted of the misdemeanor. The diocese also faces a $1,000 fine.

    After the Catholic sex abuse scandal erupted in 2002, grand juries in several regions reviewed how bishops handled claims against priests. However, most of the allegations were decades old and far beyond the statute of limitations.

    Until Finn was indicted, no U.S. Catholic bishop had been criminally charged over how he responded to abuse claims, although some bishops had struck deals with local authorities to avoid prosecution against their dioceses.

    A former secretary for clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Monsignor William Lynn, was charged in February with child endangerment. A grand jury had released a report accusing the archdiocese of keeping some credibly accused clergy in church jobs where they had access to children. Lynn has pleaded not guilty.

    The grand jury report in Philadelphia and the case in Kansas City have raised questions about how closely other dioceses are following the national discipline policy the U.S. bishops adopted in 2002. Church leaders had promised to remove all credibly accused clergy from church work.

    The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops child protection officers insisted dioceses have been taking swift action in abuse cases and that lapses have been rare.

    Terry McKiernan of BishopAccountability.org, which manages a public database of records on clergy abuse cases, called Friday's indictment especially important because it involved a recent case. He said the charge being a misdemeanor makes it no less significant.

    "The taboo against acknowledging that bishops are responsible in these matters has been challenged," McKiernan said.

    Finn acknowledged earlier this year that a parish principal had raised concerns in May 2010 that the Rev. Shawn Ratigan was behaving inappropriately around children, but that he didn't read the principal's written report until this spring.

    Ratigan was charged in May with three state child pornography counts, and in June with 13 federal counts of producing, possessing and attempting to produce child porn. He has pleaded not guilty and remains jailed.

    After receiving the principal's concerns in 2010, Monsignor Robert Murphy, the diocese's vicar general, spoke with Ratigan about setting boundaries with children. He then gave Finn a verbal summary of the concerns and his meeting with the priest.

    Last December, a computer technician found 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.

    Diocese officials reported the photos to Murphy, who did not report them to authorities and instead 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.

    Without viewing the photo, the captain said he was advised that although such a picture might meet the definition of child pornography, it probably wouldn't be investigated or prosecuted. It was not until this May that Murphy told police Ratigan's laptop had contained hundreds of photos.

    David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, on suggested Friday that other individuals should be charged along with Finn.

    "Charging only Finn might allow some to assume that he's the root of the crisis," Clohessy said. "He's not. If Finn died tomorrow, there will remain a very unhealthy, secretive church hierarchy in Kansas City. That's the bigger issue."

    ___

    AP Religion Writer Rachel Zoll in New York contributed to this report.

    Offline PartyIsOver221

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    KC bishop charged for not bringing porn to police
    « Reply #1 on: October 14, 2011, 07:21:00 PM »
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  • I think you meant to post this in General forum.


    Offline stevusmagnus

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    KC bishop charged for not bringing porn to police
    « Reply #2 on: October 14, 2011, 08:17:51 PM »
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  • Quote from: PartyIsOver221
    I think you meant to post this in General forum.


    No. I'm pretty sure this story evidences the Crisis in the Church!

    Offline Pepsuber

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    KC bishop charged for not bringing porn to police
    « Reply #3 on: October 15, 2011, 09:18:24 AM »
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  • The thing is, Bp. Finn did go to the police and consulted with a lawyer who told him that the first images found did not rise to the level of pornography.

    http://www.diocese-kcsj.org/_docs/Community-Response-05-20-11.pdf

    Quote
    The very next day, we contacted a Kansas City, Missouri, police officer and described one of the more disturbing images. At the same time the diocese showed the images to legal counsel. In both instances we were told that, while very troubling, the photographs did not constitute child pornography as they did not depict sexual conduct or contact.


    It was the police who found the pornography while executing a search warrant.

    Offline RomanKansan

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    KC bishop charged for not bringing porn to police
    « Reply #4 on: October 15, 2011, 09:56:40 AM »
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  • No, "the thing is", he did NOT report it to the police. Please read the Jesuitical/Jewish-Lawyer wording of the Diocese's press realease/excuse-for- aiding-and-abetting-the-sexual-abuse-of-children carefully.
    It says he "told a Kansas City police Officer". The law does not require that you casually mention it to a friend, associate, or neighbor who happens to be  a police officer, the law requires that you report your information to the Police Department. If Finn's house was burglarized would he mention it to someone who was an off-duty officer or would he call the police department's number and report it as a crime to an on-duty officer who would file an official report? But of course that would invovle something the "Bishop" values, his personal property, and not something he doesn't care about, like children being abused by his "priests".
    The fact that they consulted their "counsel" is absolutely irrelevant. The law does not require you to consult counsel to try and provide legal cover for your inaction in the face of child abuse, the law requires you to REPORT IT TO THE POLICE.
    Even the sorry excuse of mentioning it to an off-duty officer was bogus, Finn only mentioned one picture, but the Diocese knew of hundreds. So even their poor excuse for "reporting" did not report all they knew. Again making it a NON-report according to the law.

    I was a police officer for eleven years and one of the most satisfying aspects of the job was to put the most horrible criminals behind bars where they belong (something that happens all too rarely). Child molesters are the worst criminals. They belong in jail until they die to rot in hell for all eternity. And anyone like Finn who aids and abets them belongs in jail and hell with them.

    And people who defend them without even paying attention to the actual facts of the law and what happened do no good service to anyone.


    Offline Pepsuber

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    KC bishop charged for not bringing porn to police
    « Reply #5 on: October 15, 2011, 10:06:59 AM »
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  • Quote from: RomanKansan
    Even the sorry excuse of mentioning it to an off-duty officer was bogus, Finn only mentioned one picture, but the Diocese knew of hundreds. So even their poor excuse for "reporting" did not report all they knew. Again making it a NON-report according to the law.

    What does the law require specifically? If it requires reporting child pornography, is it not reasonable to ask whether the images actually constitute pornography?

    And why is the bishop being held responsible, but not the principal of the parish school, or members of his family, or the employee at the computer store who found the images?

    Offline RomanKansan

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    KC bishop charged for not bringing porn to police
    « Reply #6 on: October 15, 2011, 10:27:02 AM »
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  • It is reasonable to hand over everything you know when there is a well-founded belief that child abuse is occurring or has occurred. Tell/hand over all you know/have to police in an official report and let the District Attorney's office determine whether a particular crime has been committed and what charges are appropriate.
    That is precisely NOT what the Diocese did. They did not make an official report, they did not tell/ hand over all they knew.

    If others are guilty of something then of course they are accountable, but what does mentioning that have to do with Finn's responsibility? This topic is about Finn being charged, not about a pitiful attempt to deflect attention onto others.

    "why is the bishop being held responsible"...Because he IS responsible! Or he needs to resign immediately if he isn't responsible for acts he performs in his official capacity.

    Offline Pepsuber

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    KC bishop charged for not bringing porn to police
    « Reply #7 on: October 15, 2011, 02:19:42 PM »
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  • Quote from: RomanKansan
    It is reasonable to hand over everything you know when there is a well-founded belief that child abuse is occurring or has occurred.

    Why would Bp. Finn have such a belief, other than rash suspicion?


    Offline RomanKansan

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    KC bishop charged for not bringing porn to police
    « Reply #8 on: October 15, 2011, 04:02:30 PM »
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  • You obviously do not understand the Catholic teaching on rash judgement.

    From the Catechism of St Pius X
     Q: What is rash judgment or rash suspicion?
    A: Rash judgment or rash suspicion is a sin which consists in judging or suspecting evil of others without sufficient foundation.

    For the Novus Ordo, from the new Catechism
    2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.278 He becomes guilty:   - of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;

    As you see the key that makes it a sin is "without sufficient foundation". Catholic teaching does not require "proof beyond a reasonable doubt". That it is an American legal concept. And even in the American legal system that level of proof is only required for conviction. Binding over charges for court only requires eveidence that a crime has more likely than not been committed and that the person charged has committed it. To arrest someone only requires probable cause. And here we are only talking about reporting suspicions to police for them to investigate. The whole purpose of requiring the reporting is to allow the police to investigate and determine if a crime has been committed, it would defeat the whole purpose to require people to have proof beyond a reasonable doubt before even reporting something.

    As the presecutor stated "Finn and the diocese were required under state law to report the discovery to police because the images gave them reason to believe a child had been abused. "

    The facts make it clear there was more than a "sufficient foundation" to believe something was gravely wrong.

    "Last December, a computer technician found 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. "

    Hundreds of images as described above and you think it is "rash" to suspect that a child may have been abused, that such a suspicion would be "without foundation". Incredible, absolutely incredible.

    Offline Pepsuber

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    KC bishop charged for not bringing porn to police
    « Reply #9 on: October 17, 2011, 09:24:52 AM »
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  • Quote from: RomanKansan
    You obviously do not understand the Catholic teaching on rash judgement.

    Yes I do.

    Quote
    As you see the key that makes it a sin is "without sufficient foundation".

    Exactly. Images, even disturbing ones, are not in and of themselves sufficient foundation to suspect (rash suspicion), much less conclude (rash judgment) that abuse has occurred. The images, as far as I know, don't actually depict abuse.

    Quote
    As the presecutor stated "Finn and the diocese were required under state law to report the discovery to police because the images gave them reason to believe a child had been abused. "

    And why should we believe the prosecutor? Since the others who saw the initial images and did not report them are not being called to task, we can say with confidence that the authorities don't consider them pornographic, since the law also requires one to report child pornography and that law isn't limited to priests (as the law requiring reporting suspected abuse is).

    Quote
    The facts make it clear there was more than a "sufficient foundation" to believe something was gravely wrong.

    Something's being gravely wrong is not the same as abuse. Of course something is gravely wrong when a priest has disturbing images of children on his computer.

    Offline Pepsuber

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    KC bishop charged for not bringing porn to police
    « Reply #10 on: October 17, 2011, 09:25:47 AM »
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  • Quote from: RomanKansan
    "why is the bishop being held responsible"...Because he IS responsible! Or he needs to resign immediately if he isn't responsible for acts he performs in his official capacity.

    I don't mean responsible in the sense that he is responsible for his priests and what they do under his watch ... of course he is. I mean responsible for reporting the images. That responsibility is not only his.


    Offline Pepsuber

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    KC bishop charged for not bringing porn to police
    « Reply #11 on: October 24, 2011, 11:28:00 AM »
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  • I've done some additional reading on what it was that the bishop failed to report and I retract what I've written in this thread. It seems that when the diocese originally contacted police they were not very detailed in describing the "disturbing" image -- and if they had been, the police might well have said that it was pornographic.


     

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