Why hasn’t “Pope 1%” removed bishop who didn’t call cops on pedophile priest?

I thought the Vatican’s enabling of pedophilia was all in the past. I thought these were charges dealing with things that happened twenty, thirty, forty years ago. I did not realize that there is a case currently playing out in Missouri and, big surprise, the Vatican is again refusing to do the right thing.

In a nutshell…

The local Catholic diocese in Kansas City, Missouri was allegedly aware, as far back as 2006, that something funny was going on with a local priest, Father Ratigan. You’d think that this late in the game, after so many child sex abuse scandals, the Catholic Church would freak out over an allegation of a priest having inappropriate contact with young girls.

Yeah, not so much.  The church denies that they knew of anything untoward back in 2006, but that’s irrelevant when you find out what happened next.

Zoom ahead to May of 2010, and again there are allegations that Father Ratigan was involved in inappropriate touching with young children (such as putting candy in his pocket and letting children fish it out with their hands), and a report that a parent found a pair of girl’s panties in a planter at the priest’s home.

The Bishop, Robert Finn, was given a “brief verbal summary” of the letter, per the NYT, but didn’t read it until a year later. Hmmm… you hear that there’s a letter alleging some pretty weird behavior of one of your priests, involving small children, and the guy is allegedly already the subject of previous complaints, and you don’t read it.

Then we come to December of 2010.  Hundreds of photographs of child pornography involving young girls are found on the priest’s computer. (The priest was subsequently indicted on charges of taking the photos of local children himself, a charge far worse than looking at kiddie porn he downloaded off the Web (still, obviously, a serious charge in and of itself). The charges include “taking lewd pictures of the genitalia of five girls ages 2 to 12, sometimes while they slept.”  That’s how bad the photos were.) The next day, according to the Times, the priest tried to kill himself and left what amounted to a written confession.  This time, the bishop was informed for sure, no getting around it.

So you’d think that then the Catholic Church took matters into their own hands, called the cops, and kept the guy away from kids.

Not so much.

The Bishop didn’t turn the photos over to the police until this past May, 2011.  In the meantime, the priest was sent to a convent (always a good choice for a guy who has issues with girls) and continued to have contact with children.  Here’s one of example from the Kansas City Star of what the priest is alleged to have done after the Bishop knew he had a problem:

On Wednesday, Randles filed a fourth civil lawsuit against Ratigan, alleging that he used his cellphone to surreptitiously take pictures of a 10-year-old Northland girl on multiple occasions earlier this year.

Ratigan contacted the girl on Facebook weeks after Fitzgibbons treated him, according to the lawsuit filed in Clay County Circuit Court by the girl and her parents. The family — unaware of Ratigan’s troubling behavior and restrictions placed on him by Finn — invited Ratigan into their home numerous times, the suit says.

According to the lawsuit, Ratigan took pictures of the clothed girl with his cellphone from beneath the family’s dinner table on multiple occasions. The parents thought he was texting someone, the suit said. Because they did not know about the lewd photos on Ratigan’s laptop computer, they had no reason to suspect that he was taking inappropriate pictures, the lawsuit said.

“They thought it was weird that he would be texting at that angle, but it was not until someone told the parents that Ratigan had been accused of taking up-the-skirt photos that it finally hit them,” said Randles, the attorney representing the family. “It wasn’t texting.”

And guess what?  The Bishop is still on the job.  And to make matters even more interesting, he’s a member of the uber-conservative wing of the church called “Opus Dei,” and the accused priest is also a conservative.

The Bishop was recently indicted over this matter, and narrowly avoided a second indictment.  And he’s still on the job.

The local paper has called on the Bishop to step down.  And he’s still on the job.

Contrast this to what the Catholic Church is doing in Illinois.  Rather than obey local non-discrimination laws protecting gays (the church gets millions in state funding), the Catholic Church is shutting down their local adoption agencies, hurting needy kids.  You see, the Catholic Church is so moral that it just couldn’t continue to provide adoption services if it were required to not discriminate against gays.  The church’s only option was to hurt kids in order to defend its heightened sense of morality.  Sound familiar?

The moral of the story: If you’re a college football coach, you lose your job if you don’t immediately report child abuse to the cops; but if you’re a Catholic bishop, you remain on the job ad infinitum.

After everything the Catholic Church has been through, it is still to this day coddling church leaders who through their own admission enabled known pedophiles.  And these people have the nerve to lecture President Obama about his morals?


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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