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Kansas City's Bishop Finn names prosecutor to head independent probe of abuse cases

Catholic World News - June 10, 2011

Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City has appointed a former federal prosecutor to conduct an independent investigation into sex-abuse complaints in his diocese.

Bishop Finn announced the appointment of Todd Graves on June 10, as one in a series of steps responding to criticism that has arisen over his handling of the case of Father Shawn Ratigan, who now faces criminal charges for child pornography.

In a related development, the Kansas City diocesan official who has handled sex-abuse complaints was once accused of sexual misconduct himself, according to local press reports. Father Robert Murphy, the vicar-general of the diocese, was accused of sexual harassment in 1984. The incident involved an adult, and a diocesan investigation concluded that the charge was without merit. Nevertheless the charge raises new questions about whether Father Murphy should have supervised the response to sex-abuse complaints.

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  • Posted by: timothy.op - Jun. 11, 2011 4:40 PM ET USA

    It's not clear to me that charges deemed unmerited against Fr. Murphy disqualify him from holding a position of responsibility. What does it mean to be exonerated if you're never really treated or regarded as such?

  • Posted by: koinonia - Jun. 11, 2011 8:11 AM ET USA

    After the early "bumps in the road" Bishop Finn has done a good job of staying on top of this situation, and this latest move shows his desire to deal appropriately with it. He is a good man, and his resolve to do the right thing will eventually win the day. Unfortunately these scandals are so very costly to the Church and to the faithful in particular, and now there is an increased potential for false accusations by unscrupulous, disgruntled individuals hoping to stir up trouble.

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