A judge has convicted Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph on one misdemeanor count of failing to report suspicion of child endangerment, making him the highest-ranking U.S. church official -- and the first U.S. bishop -- to be convicted in the sexual-abuse crisis. More from the Kansas City Star:
The charges stemmed from the churchs handling of the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, on whose laptop a diocesan vendor found hundreds of lewd photos of young girls in December 2010. Finn's second-in-command at the diocese, Monsignor Robert Murphy, did not report the photographs to police for five months.
Finn and the diocese had been scheduled to start a jury trial in less than three weeks, but in a surprising move Wednesday, the matter was reset for trial in front of Torrence only. Lawyers limited the case to a narrow range of facts, which were expressed in 69 paragraphs submitted to Torrence at the hearing. Torrence listened to about 25 minutes of summary from attorneys then took a half-hour break before finding Finn guilty based on those facts.
Those facts included an acknowledgement from Finn that he is a mandated child abuse reporter under Missouri law. The stipulation also contained a long recitation of the now-familiar facts of the case with a few new insights.