Bishop Finn and Child Safety

It all began last December when Fr. Shawn Ratigan had a technician work on his laptop. The technician found image of child pornography on the laptop and promptly turned the computer over to officials at the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph where Ratigan was incardinated. Ratigan’s bishop, Robert Finn acknowledged that he knew back in December about the images but he was told they weren’t pornographic. (This in spite of the fact that media reports note the image include “up skirt” photos of young girls under the age of 12 and one nude photo of a young girl’s genitalia).
Diocesan officials copied the images and returned the laptop to Ratigan’s family. Ratigan attempted suicide after he found out the Diocese knew about the images. At this time, it’s not clear who contacted a police officer. The officer was not shown the images but they were described to him. During this entire time, the Diocesan Review Board was never told about Ratigan or the images found on his laptop. Review Board members found out when Ratigan was arrested and charged with possessing child pornography.
Bishop Finn, who has promised transparency in all abuse matters, failed to tell his own Review Board about the pornography and appears to have been less than forthcoming with law enforcement about Ratigan. His inaction could have endangered more children since Ratigan continued to be around children until his arrest last week. Finn defended his actions by stating that he spoke with Ratigan and ordered him to stay away from children. That’s not good enough. Children could have been harmed and some may have been harmed by Shawn Ratigan because of Finn’s desire to keep it quiet.