The indictment — issued October 6 — was unsealed today. The actual charges are listed as a misdemeanor count of failure of mandated reporter to report. So Finn and the diocese are accused of failing to act as mandatory reporters.
The indictment alleges that between December 16, 2010, and May 11, 2011, Finn and the diocese had reasonable cause to suspect that a child may have been the victim of abuse "due to previous knowledge of concerns regarding Father Ratigan and children; the discovery of hundreds of photographs of children on Father Ratigan’s laptop, including a child’s naked vagina, upskirt images and other images focused on the crotch; and violations of restrictions placed on Father Ratigan."
A computer tech discovered questionable images on Ratigan's computer in December. However, the diocese didn't turn the info over to police until May.
"Now that the grand jury investigation has resulted in this indictment, my office will pursue this case vigorously because it is about protecting children," Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said in a statement. "I want to ensure there are no future failures to report, resulting in other unsuspecting victims.”
Ratigan is facing state and federal child-pornography charges.
Finn issued a statement (via KSHB):
"Months ago after the arrest of Shawn Ratigan, I pledged the complete cooperation of the diocese and accountability to law enforcement. We have carried this out faithfully. Diocesan staff and I have given hours of testimony before grand juries, delivered documents, and answered questions fully.
"More importantly, to address the issues that led to this crisis, I reinforced and expanded diocesan procedures. We added the position of ombudsman, effectively moving the ‘gatekeeper function’ outside the Chancery and under the authority of an independent public liaison, a skilled and experienced former prosecutor. I commissioned the Graves Report to accomplish a full independent investigation of the policies and events that led to this crisis. I ordered the report to be published in its entirety for the sake of full transparency.
"Today, the Jackson County Prosecutor issued these charges against me personally and against the Diocese of Kansas City-St Joseph. For our part, we will meet these announcements with a steady resolve and a vigorous defense.
"I ask the prayerful support and unity of our priests, our people, the parishes, and the Catholic institutions. With continued dedication, we will persevere in the many good works that are the hallmark of the faithful people of the diocese throughout its 27 counties and nearly 150-year heritage. With ever stronger determination, we will form, teach and protect children, and care for the spiritual and material needs of people who look daily to the diocese for assistance.
"With deep faith, we will weather this storm and never cease to fulfill our mission, even in moments of adversity."