October 14th, 2011
03:04 PM ET

Kansas City bishop indicted on child endangerment charge

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - Catholic Bishop Robert W. Finn and the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph have been indicted by a grand jury on a charge of child endangerment, the Jackson County prosecutor said Friday in Kansas City, Missouri.

The prosecution alleges that Finn failed to report suspected child abuse by one of his priests. The class A misdemeanor carries a potential sentence of up to a year in jail and a fine up to $1,000, said prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker.

"This case is about protecting children," she said.

The bishop and the diocese each entered a plea of not guilty Friday, she said.

Read more about this story from CNN affiliate KCTV.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church

soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Bo

    For any that want to know why you hear so much about the Catholic preists abuse than protestant abuse reported, I think is because the RCC system does so much to cover up these crimes.T he RCC is more concerned about the image of the church than the safty of children. I further believe, that if that if the RCC took more severe mesures there may be less trouble. Actually there may be more abuse cases by protestent ministers, but that is be because there are many more protestant ministers than Catholic preists, plus, if there is any such criminal activity, the protestant ministers are more severely dealt with; they aren't just sent off to another parish; they are more likely to be sent off to prision with the blessings of the laity. Plus, the news media usualy treats it as local news..----- As for me; I'm not perfect, God is still working on me! If I stay sanctified to Him, I'll be a little better today than yesterday. When at last He redeems me, then He'll finish the job and make me holy.

    October 15, 2011 at 5:57 am |
  2. Ayatolah

    Burn the guilty in the furnace of fire....1

    October 15, 2011 at 3:25 am |
  3. Trystan

    I just saw another article about this on another news site. The plot doth thicken. There's a little more to the story.

    October 14, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
  4. J.W

    A Catholic told me that the Catholic church has less abuse than some protestant denominations. Are there any stats to back that up?

    October 14, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
    • Central Scrutinizer

      Don't know but it wouldn't surprise me. I seriously doubt there are any accurate stats about se-xual abuse and children because kids' are afraid to speak up about it for a variety of reasons. I was se-xually abused by my choir director when I was about 11 or 12 and never talked about to anyone until I was in my thirties. And even then it was really difficult to talk about.

      October 14, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • J.W

      It just seems like you hear so much more about the Catholic abuse. Why would you not hear an equal amount if there were just as many in the protestant churches? Or is it just because the Catholics put their clergy on such a high pedestal of basically being the moral authority of the earth?

      October 14, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
    • Central Scrutinizer

      There is abuse going on all around us, not just churches. I think the issue with the Catholic church is the fact that they covered up the crimes and did not punish the guilty individuals. When this happens at a school, the teacher is fired and prosecuted.

      October 14, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
    • fred

      Say I think you may be interested in a great Bible Study in your area. I highly recommend BSF International. They are studying Acts right now and it speaks to the formation of the church. Go to this web site I noticed two mens classes by you. Just send and Email to the Administrator of the site and they will get you going:

      October 14, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • Wait it's a trap!

      Wait it is a trap

      October 14, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • J.W

      Thanks fred I will look into it

      October 14, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Does it really matter which cult does the most evil? Given religion's claim to higher moral standards in general and the recent focus on child abuse, shouldn't the number of cases of abuse be virtually zero by now? If believer's god(s) can't protect innocent children, what good is "he?"

      October 14, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • Lala

      Lalalala I'm not listening! lalalala every knee shall bow! lalalala Yay Jesus! lalalala Boo Satan! lalalala I will pray for you! lalalala I can't hear you! lalalala every knee shall bow! lalalalala!

      October 14, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      There is one Protestant denomination that has adopted the "Safe Churches" program of risk management. No child is ever allowed to be alone with any adult at church. They have a VERY low abuse rate. Why don't the rest do this ? It's proven to work.

      October 17, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  5. Central Scrutinizer

    If they would let them get married, they could have their own children to abuse and leave ours alone.

    October 14, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
    • Central Scrutinizer

      What I mean is, as long as it's someone else's kid, I really don't care.

      October 14, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • Central Scrutinizer

      It is just a joke stalker but thanks for love. Are you gonna eat those tots?

      October 14, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
    • Central Scrutinizer

      Oh yeah. Child abuse sure is hilarious. Great subject to joke about. So clever. So witty.

      October 14, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • Central Scrutinizer

      Not tryiing to make you laugh creep-o.

      My stalker is on the loose again. Nothing I can do so hope you can tell the difference.

      October 14, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
  6. wow

    I feel they should indict the pope for ignoring his knowledge of the abuse for years.

    October 14, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • J.W

      Not that this pope doesnt have any blame, but I have heard he was actually tougher on the abuse, and that John Paul II was the more evil one.

      October 14, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
  7. hit report abuse on all herbert juarez's slimy narc posts


    October 14, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
  8. snow

    What? he is a man of god.. he can't do anything wrong..Nope, Even if it seems wrong and all the evidence points to wrongdoing, he was just following "the mysterious will of god". Release him immediately and beg god for forgiveness. otherwise you won't get salvation, you hethens!

    October 14, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
  9. Mr Chihuahua

    Burn him at the stake lol!

    October 14, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
  10. Anglican

    God have mercy, Christ have mercy, God have mercy. Evil seems to be everywhere. Sad for innocent children.

    October 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • GoToCollegeGetDrunkEatChickenFingers

      Yes, lots of evil everywhere. Especially in the bible.

      October 14, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • fred

      Say, I was going to spout off some stuff on evil but the following is a real good one pager I like, check it out:

      October 14, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
  11. AmazingSteve

    Do we really have to keep reporting these stories? This is like if we had a story every week about how someone died of cigarette-related lung cancer. I would think that by now, it could just be an accepted fact that the Catholic Church is where you go to get your children molested.

    October 14, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • GoToCollegeGetDrunkEatChickenFingers


      ~The Caaaaaaatholic Boooooooat~

      October 14, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • GoToCollegeGetDrunkEatChickenFingers

      In all seriousness though, story after story does tend to desensitize people. While it may bring more light to the problem, it often does the opposite of its intended purpose.

      October 14, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • HellBent

      Actually, I think it does help. A relative of mine recently left the RCC because they couldn't stomach the way that the church was handling – or, more appropriately, ignoring, the scandal.

      October 14, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
  12. Sanders

    Priests are like wolves in a sheep clothing,beware.....don't let your children get nearby with this abusers.

    October 14, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  13. Suzy Nauman

    BishopAccountability.com has in-depth info. on this case: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/assign/Ratigan_Rev_Shawn_Francis.htm

    October 14, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Suzy Nauman

      I meant BishopAccountability.ORG (blush). Here's the link again to the Finn/Ratigan case info: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/assign/Ratigan_Rev_Shawn_Francis.htm

      October 14, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Guest

      Okay, just to make sure I looked at the right site. This is the site that has the report that this priest has only been indicted on these charges. But he hasn't been convicted of anything. As a matter of fact, he hasn't even been to trial yet. This guy might very well be guilty, but don't you think he should be tried first before you all hang him?

      October 14, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  14. Judy Jones

    This is a start to protecting children today. But all who concealed, did not report to police, or who covered up crimes against kids need to be held accountable.

    Hopefully others, who may have knowledge or been harmed by anyone in the KC-St Joe diocese, will have the courage to speak up and report it to police and to prosecutors, however long ago your abuse happened. Keep in mind your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511
    "Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests" and all clergy.

    October 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Guest

      Or to make it simplier, how about people just send in donations or fees to the folks at SNAP. They are in business now so it's in their interest to keep any story on the front burners. Just another money making organization out to skim what they can from a situation.

      October 14, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  15. Don Pardo

    It's about bloody time that charges start hitting these guys. Especially the leaders who covered it up and helpd let these priests continue to operate.

    October 14, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  16. Doc Vestibule

    A Catholic clergyman covering up child abuse?
    I can't believe it.
    Next they're going to try and convince me that a Baptist minister was condeming gay people.

    October 14, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • captain america

      Which part of canada is Kansas City in?

      October 14, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • HellBent

      @c a

      Wow. Get over yourself dude. Someone didn't love you enough as a child, did they?

      October 14, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
    • Central Scrutinizer

      Hellbent, why don't YOU get over YOURself. Are the internet police? DIDN'T THINK SO.

      October 14, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  17. hippypoet

    i say we burn every single priest of any and all faiths that are convicted of such crimes....let them feel what there kind put women thru in the inquisition.... that just sounds fair, and i'm all about fairness!

    October 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • AmazingSteve

      Seriously dude, just leave. Your posts are all ridiculous bordering on surreal, and never add anything to any discussion.

      October 14, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • GoToCollegeGetDrunkEatChickenFingers

      Conviction does not always affirm guilt. There are innocent people in prison. Should we just assume anyone guilty of whatever we deem fit be burned? Sounds to me like resurrecting the witch hunting and burning hobby of our kind-hearted ancestors.

      October 14, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  18. Colin

    Ten signs you are a Catholic.

    1. You believe that the pope has personal conversations with God (that nobody else ever hears) and is infallible when he elects to speak “from the chair” on matters of Church doctrine. You then wistfully ignore the fact that Church doctrine changes and that former popes therefore could not possibly have been “infallible”. Limbo, for example, was touted by pope after pope as a place where un-baptized babies who die go, until Pope Benedict XVI just eradicated it (or, more accurately, so watered it down as effectively eradicate it in a face saving way). Seems all those earlier “infallible” Popes were wrong – as they were on Adam and Eve v. evolution, heliocentricity v. geocentricity, immaculate conception, and a host of other issues that required an amendment of official Church doctrine. You also ignore the innumerable murders, rampant corruption and other crimes committed over the centuries by your “infallible”, god-conversing popes.

    2. You reject the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours. You are blissfully (or intentionally) blind to the fact, that had you been born in another part of the World, you would be defending the local god(s) and heralding the incorrectness of Catholic beliefs.

    3. You begrudgingly accept evolution (about a century after Darwin proved it and after accepting Genesis as literally true for about 2,000 years) and that Adam and Eve was totally made up, but then conveniently ignore that fact that your justification for Jesus dying on the cross (to save us from Original Sin) has therefore been eviscerated. Official Church literature still dictates a belief in this nonsense.

    4. You disdain native beliefs as “polytheist” and somehow “inferior” but cannot explain (i) why being polytheistic is any sillier than being monotheistic. Once you make the quantum leap into Wonderland by believing in sky-fairies, what difference does if make if you believe in one or many?; nor (ii) why Christians believe they are monotheistic, given that they believe in god, the devil, guardian angels, the holy spirit, Jesus, many demons in hell, the Virgin Mary, the angel Gabriel, thousands of saints, all of whom apparently make Earthly appearances periodically, and all of whom inhabit their life-after-death lands with magic-sacred powers of some kind.

    5. You bemoan the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don`t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees or the 3,000 Israelites killed by Moses for worshipping the golden calf (or the dozen or so other slaughters condoned by the bible). You also like to look to god to for guidance in raising your children, ignoring the fact that he drowned his own – according to your Bible.

    6. You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that God impregnated Mary with himself, to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to “forgive” an ”Original Sin” that we now all know never happened.

    7. You criticize gays as sinners, but have no problem when Lot got drunk and committed father-daughter in.cest (twice) or offered his daughters to a mob to be gang ra.ped, or when Moses, time and again, offered his wife up for the “pleasures” of the Egyptians to save his own skin.

    8. You believe that your god will cause anyone who does not accept your Bronze Age stories to suffer a penalty an infinite times worse than the death penalty (burning forever in excruciating torture) simply because of their healthy skepticism, yet maintain that god “loves them”.

    9. You will totally reject any scientific breakthrough that is inconsistent with your established doctrine, unless and until it is so generally accepted as to back you into a corner. While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you of the deep inanity of your silly faith, some priest doing magic hand signals over bread and wine is enough to convince you it is thereby transformed into the flesh and blood of Jesus because of the priest’s magic powers (or “sacred powers” to the extent you see a difference).

    10. You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to Lourdes, Fátima and other magic places and prayers in general. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. The remaining 99.99% failure was simply “god moving in mysterious ways”. The fact that, if you ask for something repeatedly, over and over, year after year, sooner or later that thing is bound to happen anyway, has not even occurred to you. A stopped clock is right twice a day.

    11. You accept the stories in the Bible without question, despite not having the slightest idea of who actually wrote them, how credible these people were or how long the stories were written after the alleged events they record occurred. For example, it is impossible for Moses to have written the first five books of the Old Testament, as Catholics believe. For one, they record his death and events after his death. In fact, the chance of the Bible being historically accurate in any but the broadest terms is vanishingly small.

    Heavens, I could not fit them into ten.

    October 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • tomas janson

      Generally speaking, well said. Was gearing up for some ranting myself, but you said it all. Thanks!

      October 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  19. tomas janson

    When is this going to stop??
    If there is not a structural, or systemic problem within the Catholic Church, why is this abuse allowed to continue?
    Why is not the christian community reacting stronger?
    Did Jesus somehow promote child abuse?
    Is there anything written in the Bible that either promote, or allow for, blatant abuse of children?

    October 14, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Colin

      "Is there anything written in the Bible that either promote, or allow for, blatant abuse of children"?

      $exually assaulting them, no, but killing them (with or without a bear) yes, many, many.

      October 14, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • GoToCollegeGetDrunkEatChickenFingers

      To answer your initial question, I don't believe any of it will stop until mankind is extinct. I'm hoping it's sooner than later. This kind of behavior only proves that we weren't all "created" equal.

      October 14, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  20. Reality

    Why did today's pope, prelates, preachers and rabbis, so focused on society's se-xual sins, lose sight of clerical se-xual sins?


    Obviously ordination in any religion is not assurance of good behavior !!!!!

    Neither is coronation!!! e.g. Henry VIII, King David.

    Neither is marriage as 50% of those men convicted of pedophilia are married.

    Neither is being elected president of the USA!! e.g. Billy "I did not have se-x with that girl" Clinton, John "Marilyn Monroe" Kennedy"

    Neither is possessing super athletic skill!!! e.g. Tiger "I am so sorry for getting caught" Woods.

    Neither is being an atheist or pagan since pedophilia is present in all walks of life.

    If someone is guilty of a crime in this litany of "neithers" they should or should have been penalized as the law dictates to include jail terms for pedophiliacs (priests, rabbis, evangelicals, boy scout leaders, married men/women), divorce for adultery (Clinton, Kennedy, Woods), jail terms for obstruction of justice (Clinton, Cardinal Law, Cardinal Rigali?) and the death penalty or life in prison for murder ("Kings David and Henry VIII).

    October 14, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • .........

      hit report abuse on all reality nonsense unrelated to story posts

      October 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.