Kansas City: The charge is only a
misdemeanor. But if prosecutors win a conviction against
Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Finn in Kansas City, they could
open a new front in the national priest abuse crisis.
Finn is accused of violating Missouri`s mandatory
reporter law by failing to tell state officials about hundreds
of images of suspected child pornography found on the computer
of a priest in his diocese.
Finn is the highest-ranking church official charged with
shielding an abusive priest. Experts say a criminal conviction
against him could embolden prosecutors elsewhere to more
aggressively pursue members of the church hierarchy who try to
protect offending clergy.
Finn has acknowledged knowing about the images for months
before they were turned over to police. Finn`s attorneys say
the law is unconstitutionally vague.