For the first time in American history, a Catholic bishop has been convicted for failing to report evidence of a priest’s sexual abuse of children. Bishop Robert Finn of the Kansas City diocese was convicted after failing to report to police the fact that a priest in his charge had hundreds of child porn images on his computer. Unfortunately, there is almost no punishment attached to the conviction:
Judge John Torrence immediately sentenced Finn to two years’ of probation, then suspended the imposition of the sentence. That means that if Finn finishes the probation without incident and completes nine steps as part of his sentence, the bishop’s criminal record will be expunged.Finn had faced a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $1,000 fine on each charge. The diocese had faced a fine of up to $5,000 on each of its two counts if convicted.
So pretty much a slap on the hand. And nothing will happen to the current pope, who gave explicit instructions to his church that they were to handle all such situations internally and not report them to the police.