A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is urging a Kansas City judge and prosecutor to delay any sentencing of embattled Bishop Robert Finn today, should he plead guilty or be found guilty of concealing child sex crimes. A copy of the letter, sent this morning by fax and e mail, is below:
Dear Judge John M. Torrence:
Dear Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker:
We respectfully urge that Bishop Robert Finn not be sentenced today. Essentially he is guilty of a crime involving secrecy. He ignored and refused to listen to people who should have been listened to. It would be a shame if his case was resolved in a way that also involved secrecy and the ignoring of people who should have been listened to.
Bishop Finn wants this over as soon as possible with the least amount of public scrutiny and public input. While sentencing the Bishop today serves his interests, it does not serve the public's interest. Nor does it help bring justice, healing and prevention.
Normally, weeks transpire between a guilty finding or plea and a criminal's sentencing. That's what should happen here. Bishop Finn should receive no special consideration or privileges. Doing so would only undermine public trust and faith in our justice system.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, have been hurt by Bishop Finn’s wrongdoing. Victims include families hurt by Fr Ratigan, other clergy sex abuse victims, and devout but betrayed Catholics. As victims of Bishop Finn’s crimes they deserve a chance to be heard before the bishop's sentence is determined.
Fast-tracking his trial is bad enough. Fast-tracking his sentence is even worse. The justice system should not be abused for the convenience or protection of a powerful wrongdoer.
One reason child sex abuse victims stay silent is because they have seen predators and their allies get preferential treatment by authority figures. Many victims are hopeless and feel if they speak up, somehow, wrongdoers will still escape punishment, get privileges and future crimes will not be deterred. Please do not exacerbate the hopelessness many victims feel. Please do not show such favor to Finn and thereby rub even more salt into the already deep and still-fresh wounds of those he has hurt. Please give them the opportunity, another crime victims have, to express their views, in court, after his plea, at a later date before sentencing is determined.
Thank you for your consideration.
SNAP Outreach Director