Re. the story on the conviction of Bishop Finn -- Well said, Becky. As you know, I am a priest who was raped 9 months prior to ordination I followed through with ordination and had a flashback in the fall of 2001. From then on I became aware of the horrendous approach the hierarchy was taking to clergy sexual abuse and the victims. I struggled five years to remain in ministry, but then in conscience I could no longer remain as a representative of the bishops. I asked to "step aside" until the hierarchy got its act together. Six years later I am still not in ministry - and the bishops are still trying to down-play or minimalize their role in the crisis. Their aim was to "avoid schandal and to protect Mother Church." In actuality they have brought about more scandal. The Vatican MUST take decisive action.
It is our guess that all of the US bishops have been watching this case against Bishop Finn very closely. The KC judge found Finn guilty of concealing and not reporting sex crimes against innocent little girls. This has NEVER happened to a US bishop before. and there are many other bishops who could have been sitting in that court room and been found guilty also.
This trial and verdict is only the beginning of getting this horrific abuse stopped. It is only the beginning of getting the enabling and empowering of child predators stopped. It is the beginning of protecting kids today.
The courage of brave victims of clergy sex abuse, who are speaking up and starting to contact police instead of contacting church officials, are to be commended for helping to expose the truth. Like Finn has now learned the hard way, it is not the church officials who should be deciding or investigating child sex crimes, that is the job for law enforcement.
Church officials are not able to police themselves because there is no punishment for the bishops who break their own rules. Victims deserve to be treated with respect no matter how long ago their abuse happened, Child predators need to be exposed and removed from their ministries no matter how old the allegations, because they can never be trusted to be around children.
Hopefully this trial and verdict will encourage other law enforcement agencies to investigate the handling of child sex crimes in other US dioceses across the nation. The KC diocese sexual abuse cover up is not an isolated case by any means.
This Bishop Finn trial was an amazing experience to witness. The guilty verdict gives hope to many thousands of clergy abuse victims that justice is possible and that there is hope that no other child will be given the life sentence of being sexually abused.
Bishop Finn is now deemed a criminal, and he needs to be defrocked from the priesthood
Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511. firstname.lastname@example.org,
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)