Robert W. Finn, a Catholic bishop from Kansas City, has resigned three years after he was found guilty of defending a priest involved in a child pornography case in 2012. Pope Francis has accepted Finn’s resignation, according to a statement from the Vatican.
Finn, 62, is convicted for not reporting the presence of child pornography in former priest’s computer.
“Pope Francis’s removal of (Finn) is a good step but just a beginning,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org.
“The pope must show that this decision represents a meaningful shift in papal practice, that it signals a new era in bishop accountability,” she told Reuters via email.
The court found him guilty for failing to report Shawn Ratigan, who was involved in child pornography at that time. A Kansas City judge convicted Finn for failing to report the incident that began when a technician discovered images of young girls’ genitals on Ratigan’s computer. The accused have downloaded many such photos and stored them in his computer.
Following the incident, Ratigan was sent to a therapist and was assigned a new post. Finn also asked him to stay away from children. Instead of mending his ways, the accused still continued to take picture of girls’ private parts for nearly six months before he was handed over to the police in 2011.
Ratigan, who tried to commit suicide after he was exposed, was sentenced 50 years in jail, while Finn received two years of probation.
The Vatican started investigation last year in September after a mass protest that demands the bishop’s resignation.
Nearly half a million people signed an online petition against Finn.