Bishop agrees to have his actions monitored

Bishop Robert Finn

Bishop Robert Finn

The top Roman Catholic official for the Kansas City Diocese agreed on Tuesday to have his actions monitored by prosecutors in order to avoid criminal charges for failing to turn in a priest suspected of creating child pornography.

Bishop Robert Finn, the leader of the 134,000-member diocese, is the highest-ranking Catholic official ever to face U.S. criminal charges in a child sexual abuse case.

Finn was indicted by a grand jury in Jackson County last month on a misdemeanor charge of failing to report Father Shawn Ratigan to police despite months of warnings by others that the 46-year-old priest potentially posed a threat. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

The allegations against the bishop are tied to evidence that even after a church computer technician made church officials aware of hundreds of photos of young girls on Ratigan’s laptop, Finn did not report it to police nor to the parents and children who interacted with Ratigan.

Ratigan is accused of taking pornographic photos of young girls, including one that showed a young girl on a bed with her panties pulled aside, exposing her genitals.

Ratigan was eventually turned in by another diocese official five months after the pictures were discovered. He has been charged with 13 counts of child pornography and is in jail awaiting trial next summer.

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