Magazine article The Christian Century

Accused Bishop Gets Deal to Avoid Second Indictment

Magazine article The Christian Century

Accused Bishop Gets Deal to Avoid Second Indictment

Article excerpt

A CATHOLIC BISHOP in Missouri has avoided a second criminal charge for failing to report suspected child abuse by agreeing to allow prosecutors to oversee similar allegations against church officials in their county for the next five years.

Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph will not face prosecution in Clay County on the misdemeanor charge if he fulfills the agreement.

The deal allows the Clay County prosecutors to review the diocese's handling of every accusation of child abuse in their jurisdiction for the next five years.

The agreement does not affect Finn's fate in neighboring Jackson County, where he was indicted for failing to report suspected child abuse in October.

Finn is the highest-ranking Catholic official in the U.S. to face criminal charges for not telling law enforcement that a priest under his supervision had been accused of child sexual abuse. The charges stem from Finn's admission that he knew that a priest in his diocese had hundreds of images of alleged child pornography on his computer but did not tell the police for five months.

To avoid prosecution in Clay County, Finn is required to report monthly to Prosecuting Attorney Daniel White for the next five years and "apprise him of any and all reported suspicious or alleged abuse activities involving minors. …

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