Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn today became the highest-ranking U.S. Catholic official convicted during the church’s decades-long child sexual abuse scandal.
Following a short non-jury trial, Jackson County Circuit Court Judge John Torrence convicted Finn of one misdemeanor count of failing to report suspicions of child abuse but acquitted him on another count of failing to report.
Torrence sentenced Finn to two years of probation then suspended the sentence, meaning that if Finn completes the unsupervised probation without any new incidents happening, his criminal record will be expunged.
Finn had faced a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $1,000 fine on each charge. Prosecutors asked for two years of probation. Defense attorneys sought a suspended sentence.
Before being sentenced, Finn told the judge, “I truly regret and am sorry for the hurt these events caused.”
The report notes, “The verdict means that Finn had reasonable suspicions that Ratigan had abused children but failed to notify authorities.” It contains some new information about particulars of the case, including that only “four or five” of the hundreds of pornographic photos on Ratigan’s computer were downloaded from the internet, with the rest apparently taken with a personal camera. Also, a “statement from a Pennsylvania mental health professional, who found that Ratigan was not a risk to children,” and a letter from Ratigan to Finn in which the priest acknowledged he was addicted to pornography.
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