Monday, August 29, 2011

Further Updates on the Shawn Ratigan-Robert Finn Story in Kansas City: Legal Actions Proceeding

I'm catching up with my reading about the latest developments in the Shawn Ratigan-Robert Finn story in the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.  Here are several articles that appeared in the last few weeks, which had somehow escaped my attention until this past weekend:

Laurie Goodstein summarizes the situation, and the response of local Catholics to it, in New York Times.  She notes that what arouses the most concern among many local Catholics and Catholics throughout the U.S. is this: this is a "painfully fresh case" in which a bishop had promised, only three years ago, to turn in those under his charge reasonably suspected of abusing minors to legal authorities.  

The Ratigan-Finn story is not playing out in 2002, when many of us first began to learn about the abuse crisis.  It's happening in 2011, years after the crisis has been analyzed to death, and we've had one promise after another from church officials that they've gotten it under control.

And Mark Morris and Judy L. Thomas report in the Kansas City Star on the imminent opening of the grand jury investigation of the case, while Morris also notes in a separate article in the same paper that federal prosecutors are asking for life in prison for Ratigan if he's convicted.  This information appears in filings the prosecutors made recently in federal court, which also contain new information about the response of church officials when they initially discovered that Finn had child pornography on his computer.  

If I'm reading Morris's summary of the filings correctly, they state that diocesan officials were not immediately certain that the images on Finn's computer were pornographic, though they included a photo he had taken of a little girl lying down with her panties pulled aside.

This case definitely bears close watching, for all of us concerned with addressing the abuse crisis in the Catholic church effectively.

The graphic is a cappa magna presented to Finn by Benedictine sisters in his diocese, from Colleen Kochivar Baker's Enlightened Catholicism blog.

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