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First Roman Catholic bishop is indicted in sex abuse scandal

by Brad A. Greenberg

October 15, 2011 | 3:00 pm

Five-plus years ago, the Roman Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal dominated news headlines. But, except for that blip around Easter 2010, it’s been a lot quieter during the past few years. Not right now.

For the first time, a bishop has been criminally charged for protecting pedophiles priests by not reporting alleged molestation to law enforcement. Lots of bishops were civilly sued in their capacity as head of a diocese. But, even though Cardinal Roger Mahony was under a grand jury investigation, none had been indicted with a crime. Until Friday.

The LA Times reports:

What remains to be seen is whether the indictment of Bishop Robert Finn will be an isolated event or will encourage prosecutors elsewhere to investigate allegations of coverup against members of the church leadership.

Prosecutors announced Friday that Finn had been charged with a single misdemeanor count of failure to report child abuse after he allegedly learned — but failed to tell authorities — that a priest in his diocese had a laptop computer containing hundreds of images of child pornography. Finn’s diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph was also charged.

“I can assure you that this has nothing — nothing — to do with the Catholic faith,” Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said in announcing the indictments. “This is about the facts of this case, and this is about protecting children.”

Read more here and listen to a report from NPR here.

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