The Star’s Editorial | Finn’s Failures Warrant Resignation
Kansas City Star
September 1, 2012
An employee of Kansas City’s Roman Catholic diocese wants to take back something she said in deposition testimony that reflects harshly on Bishop Robert Finn.
The about-face by staffer Julie Creech leaves the public with no way to know whether Finn, in a conversation with Creech about pornographic images found on a priest’s computer, said something to the effect of, “Sometimes boys will be boys.”
We do know, however, that Finn failed to protect children of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph after he learned that lewd images of children had been found on a computer used by the Rev. Shawn Ratigan.
Although one hopes Finn did not speak such unfeeling words, his actions over the years have revealed too much willingness to disregard serious allegations of priests abusing children.
Creech, the computer systems manager for the diocese, found the disturbing images in December 2010 while examining the laptop. She alerted a diocese leader and, according to her legal deposition, had a conversation with Finn about what she had seen.
Finn and the diocese are scheduled to go to trial on Sept. 24 on misdemeanor charges of failing to report suspected child abuse, as required by Missouri law.
Instead of alerting police after the images were found on Ratigan’s computer, Finn removed the priest from his parish post and ordered him to stay away from children. Only five months later, after Ratigan repeatedly disobeyed the order, did diocese officials contact authorities.
Creech’s attorney said his client realized after her deposition that she had “misspoken” about Finn purportedly saying “boys will be boys,” and she did not remember him saying that.
Still, it is damaging enough that Finn’s actions in this and other instances lend plausibility to Creech’s original scenario.
The diocese cannot regain credibility with Finn at the helm. Regardless of what happens in court, he needs to step down as bishop. Area Catholics deserve a better shepherd.