First Conviction of a Catholic Bishop…

Robert W. Finn

Buried in the news, during this political season, was an article in the New York Times that the Roman Catholic Bishop of Kansas City was convicted at a bench trial on one misdemeanor charge and not guilty on a second charge, for failing to report a priest who had taken hundreds of pornographic pictures of young girls.  He was sentenced to two years of probation.  He could have been sentenced to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000.

But here is the kicker (there always is one in these cases)… His conviction can be expunged (“Process by which record of criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed from the state or Federal repository.” Black’s Law Dictionary) if he complies with all the conditions of his conviction. Those conditions, outlined by the presiding judge, include strengthening training for clergy and administrators on child abuse reporting and recognizing child pornography; creating a $10,000 victim counseling fund (surely that will be paid for by the parishioners who are still donating money and not by the convicted prelate); drawing up an approved list of treatment providers (Servants of the Paraclete?); and maintaining an ombudsman (job title change for the Victim’s Assistance Coordinator?).

Finn’s case was set for a trial by a jury.  That changed yesterday when the prosecutors and defense attorney avoided the jury trial yesterday when the  submitted 69 paragraphs of stipulated facts in a bench trial.   The bench trial allowed for victims to be spared the pain of testifying and will help protect their identities.  In exchange for his cooperation in the case, authorities agreed not to file an indictment against a second-ranking diocese official, Monsignor Robert Murphy, who had reported his suspicions to the police.

My question…  Since he has been convicted, will the hierarchy of the church remove him from his position?   Will he do the right thing and step down?  Don’t hold your breath!  When they move to expunge his record, it will be like nothing ever happened and they will act accordingly.

Read the article at:

New York Times

The Kansas City Star – Kansas

Boston Globe

Yes, I am still here…

I was in the process of moving back into my house last week when I noticed I had a voicemail from a fellow survivor and long time warrior in this struggle.     She wanted to know if I had run out of steam for my blog.  I will get back to her directly, but it made me think.

To be perfectly honest, this blog process can suck the life out of you.  I have 3-4 posts in varying stages of editing and reworking at any given time. Sometimes I agonize over them and tweak them for so long that I have to figure out if they are even valid any more.   I have to finish the fourth installment of my RCC Playbook (note to self) and get cracking on a couple of other things.   I have to sort through the comments and the increasing number of spam deletions I deal with from eastern European viagra hawks who “love my posts, and want to offer appropriate comment to show my approval and concern”.  Yep, D-E-L-E-T-E…  I also have the emails that I get from people who shared their own great,terrible secret with me.  I really don’t know how to respond to some of them, especially those who share the same perp priest.

The move back to my house is a step on the road to completing the divorce process I am mired in. What I had hoped would be an amicable and civil process has veered into a temporarily contentious detour that I hope will resolve itself in the very near future.  Money does that (especially when there is not as much as hoped for)!

I am frustrated with the state of where the legal issues are running in our community. I think the politicians are hedging their bets to look tough on organizations that have condoned or protected predators while keeping survivors from the chance to call those organizations and perpatrators to account for their part in this crisis.  They need to be tough on pedophiles but they don’t want to look like they are being too hard on the organizations that sheltered them.   You don’t want to piss off the Catholics, the Penn State Alumni, the Boy Scouts or other organizations that have sheltered pedophiles in order to avoid scandal for the organzations.   Voting blocks are very important to District Attorneys with political aspirations.

I am firmly convinced that the hierarchy still doesn’t get it, the blind faithful still don’t see it, and the leadership of the “victims’ community” is still trying to keep the victims as victims.   That is the best way to keep the money coming in the form of donations.   I think the need to pay the leadership is more important than getting out and doing the work to change laws, bring criminals to justice and perhaps try to  change the culture that allowed these monsters to be sheltered and children to be left out in the cold.

Have I made a difference or am I just spitting in the wind?   I have no idea.   I keep falling back on the line, “No good deed goes unpunished, no act of charity goes unresented”.   Yes, the steam is a little low at the moment.

I will get back to posting when the boxes get emptied and I have settled back into my new normal.  I am not out of steam,  it is being diverted, for the moment, to other more pressing personal matters.  I will have both boilers back up and on line soon.