In a revelation Monday evening by The New York TImes
, an arbitrator ordered the diocese and Bishop Robert Finn to pay $1.1 million to 44 plaintiffs in March because they broke promises to report child-abuse cases to authorities and deal more strictly with predatory priests.
The "breach of contract" case stems from a 2008, $10 million settlement that the Catholic Diocese paid to 47 victims of child sexual abuse that were covered up.
At that time, Bishop Finn agreed to implement several child safety measures to protect children from predatory priests.
But in 2010, the plaintiffs learned that Finn broke his promise by keeping the Rev. Shawn Ratigan in ministry work when he knew that Ratigan was a predator and was hoarding hundreds of photographs of girls.
The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit. An arbitrator was eventually appointed.
Bishop Finn was found guilty on a misdemeanor charge for failing to report Ratigan, who pleaded guilty to child-pornography charges.
The diocese had 90 days to respond to the arbitrator's order. In June, attorneys for the diocese filed a motion to "vacate, modify or correct" the order that contained "a number of factual errors, inaccuracies and unsupported inferences," according to court files. Now a Jackson County judge will decide probably this month if the award stands.
The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph continues to roil in its sea of child-sexual-abuse scandals.