Finn’s new staff say “no anonymous abuse reports;" SNAP responds

For decades, most Catholic bishops have assured their flocks they “take child sex abuse seriously” and “act promptly” on reports or suspicions of abuse. So it’s disconcerting that only now Kansas City church officials are claiming they’re starting to “look into suspicions of abuse.”

Finn’s latest staffer claims she wants to “broaden” the diocese approach to possible child sex crimes. But to us, it looks like she’s actually limiting it, by insisting that victims disclose their names when reporting child sex crimes.

"There is no reason for an anonymous report," Jenifer Valenti told KMBC TV. "If there is an anonymous report that comes to me . . . there will not be an internal investigation of that report. It’s my belief when it comes to protecting children; you've got to step forward. It's that simple."

Some victims want anonymity to protect their kids, their spouses, or their elderly parents (who may not know they were sexually violated as kids and may still attend the parish where the crimes took place). Others want to protect their jobs or their partner’s job. (They may work for a Catholic institution or a Catholic employer.) There are many reasons why someone who was raped as a child may not want their name out there. Church officials must respect this.

Many victims start by reporting anonymously. Then, over time, if they are treated with dignity and compassion and respect, they later disclose their identity. But that won’t happen if KC church officials discourage or prevent anonymous reporting right off the bat.

It certainly makes it easier for church officials when victims are strong and brave enough to use their names when reporting child sex crimes. But the goal of reporting abuse is NOT to make life easy for Catholic employees. It’s to protect kids. So church staffers should do everything they can – including accept, and even encourage, anonymous reporting – to make it more likely for victims to come forward, expose predators, protect kids and start healing.

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