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Bishop Finn seeks dismissal of criminal charges in abuse case

March 28, 2012

Lawyers for Kansas City’s Bishop Robert Finn have asked a Missouri court to dismiss a criminal charge against him, arguing that the bishop was not required by law to report evidence of sexual abuse by a priest.

At a March 27 court hearing, the bishop’s attorney said that a diocesan official, Msgr. Robert Murphy, was the “mandated reporter” who had a legal obligation to inform police officials about suspicions concerning Father Shawn Ratigan. Msgr. Murphy did eventually report those suspicions.

Although he learned in December 2010 that Ratigan had troubling pictures of children on his computer, and ordered counseling for the priest, Bishop Finn did not alert civil authorities. Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker told the court that the bishop failed to carry out the policies of his own diocese. “There were policies in place,” she said, “But they didn’t use them.”

Judge John Torrence said that he would rule next week on the motion to dismiss the charges.


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