Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City has become the highest-ranking Catholic official in the nation to face criminal prosecution in the decades-old child sexual abuse scandal — an action that stunned many inside and outside the church, the Kansas City Star reports.
A Jackson County grand jury indicted both Finn and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on misdemeanor charges of failure to report child abuse in a case involving a priest facing child pornography charges. As Finn and the diocese denied wrongdoing Friday after appearing in court, news of the charges roiled the nation and the Catholic world. “This is historic,” said the Rev. Thomas J. Reese, author of “Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church.”