Finn verdict protects the powerful, forgets the children
The Kansas City Star
The conviction of the highest ranking Catholic official in the Kansas City area Thursday is not a cause for any rejoicing. At all.
Bishop Robert Finn got off with a slap on the wrist - even after being found guilty of one count of failing to report suspicions of child abuse.
And the children he was expected - no, demanded - to protect can only watch the bishop walk away with two years of probation.
The legal system tried but ultimately failed to send the message that it would work aggressively to protect children from this outrage.
Jackson County Circuit Court Judge John Torrence actually suspended the probation sentence.
From The Star: “If Finn completes the unsupervised probation without any new incidents happening, his criminal record will be expunged.”
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker defended the weak sentence after the judge’s verdict, saying children were protected from being dragged through the trial.
Finn was the person who was supposed to lead by example - to make sure ALL adults in the diocese do their best to protect the children in their care.
Finn failed to do that.
He was found guilty of that violation.
He suffered some bad publicity.
But he still holds his job and his power.
The legal system today protected the powerful, but forgot the suffering of the children.
Finn could and should have resigned months ago, to have allowed this entire diocese to move forward, to remove the stench of this long-running episode.
He failed to do that and - with today’s verdict - appears ready to stay in power for more years to come.
That means controversy over his leadership will remain, embroiling Catholics in their own kind of limbo.