MO--KC bishop is ousted-a tiny step forward

For immediate release: Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])


Finally, more than two years after his conviction, Bishop Robert Finn has been ousted. This is a tiny but belated step forward.

After centuries of abuse and cover up done in secrecy, and decades of abuse and cover up done somewhat in public, one pope has finally seen fit to oust one bishop for complicity in clergy sex crimes. That's encouraging. But it's only a very tiny drop of reform in an enormous bucket of horror.

Finn's departure will, in the short term, make some adults happier. By itself, it won't, in the long term, make many kids safer.

Keep in mind that dozens of Kansas City Catholic employees are concealing or have concealed clergy sex crimes. So it's irresponsible for anyone to get complacent. Protecting predators and endangering kids is a deeply-rooted and long-standing pattern in the Catholic hierarchy. It didn't start with one man and won't stop with one man.

There were dozens of church staff who could and should have stopped Fr. Shawn Ratigan's crimes by simply calling 911. But they protected themselves and their jobs by staying silent. They too should be ousted by the Vatican.

But the scandal in Kansas City goes far beyond the Ratigan crisis. In the early 1990s, we declared that it was one of the most mean-spirited in the US regarding how it treats survivors, especially those who seek justice in court.

It still is. Finn continues to exploit several legal technicalities to protect child molesting clerics and deny victims their day in court.

Virtually no KC Catholic employee has had the courage to speak up when Finn:

-argues in court that he's not responsible when a priest sexually assaults a child on private property (And Finn has won on this claim.)

– let his priests try to violate the privacy of child sex abuse victims, witnesses, whistleblowers and advocates by subpoenaing personal mail and email going back decades.

Virtually no KC Catholic employee has had the courage to speak up when:

– in the weeks after the Fr. Ratigan crisis exploded, five other KC area clerics were accused of or suspended for alleged sexual misconduct. (Fr. Michael Tierney, Fr. James Urbanic, Fr. Bede Parry, seminarian Nicholas Pinkston and Msgr. Robert Murphy. All but Parry and Pinkston were in active ministry when they were accused.)

–it was disclosed that KC church official paid for a serial predator priest, Msgr. Thomas Reardon, to become a licensed counselor, even after several credible abuse allegations against him were made.

Virtually no KC Catholic employee has had the courage to warn a single parent or parishioner about: 

--Fr. Thomas Cronin of Nevada, who is involved with a homeless women's shelter in Nevada despite a pending civil lawsuit in Kansas City that charges him with sexually violating a young woman.

–-Bishop Joseph Hart of Wyoming who, as a priest in KC, molested at least six boys. (They have sued and those suits have settled.)

Virtually no KC Catholic employee spoke up when Finn:

--kept Fr. Tierney on the job for six months even after he'd been named in two child sex abuse lawsuits,

–“outed” three abuse victims


– ousted Fr. Jorge Ramirez last fall from a KC parish citing unspecified complaints.

Virtually no KC Catholic employee spoke up on behalf of brave whistleblowers like Margaret Mata or Larry Probst or joined us to challenge Finn for keeping Fr. Glenn Gardner in a KC parish despite having stolen from churches in Wisconsin:

So to us it's clear: despite new promises, pledges, panels, protocols and procedures - and new scandals - in the Kansas City diocese, no one in the church hierarchy is really reforming.

There have however, been a few brave and compassionate church staff in Kansas City in recent years, individuals like Jim McConnell who confronted Finn and quit on the eve of his deaconate ordination because of the Ratigan scandal and Sr. Jean Christensen who has been outspoken in her advocacy for kids and victims. There have been several secular heroes, including Detective Maggie McGuire and prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.

But the overwhelming majority of current and recent Catholic employees in Kansas City who knew of or suspected clergy sex crimes and kept quiet should be ashamed of themselves and should be at least suspended – or more likely fired – by the next KC bishop.

There are now, according to, 25 publicly accused Kansas City area child molesting clerics. That's a fraction of the real total. Finn alone did not enable, ignore and conceal their crimes. Sadly, he has had and still has plenty of help continuing the cover ups.

So vigilance, not complacency, is needed now. It's crucial that those who see, suspect or suffer clergy sex crimes and cover ups in KC keep finding the strength to get help, protect kids, call police, expose wrongdoers, deter wrongdoing, and start healing.


(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is 

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected])

Showing 15 comments

  • Bill Reidy
    commented 2015-04-22 19:25:54 -0500
    I can’t believe the Pope didn’t defrock this guy. Is the Pope afraid of things he did when he was priest to be released to the press? What happened to the one strike and your out policy – does that only pertain to priests, not archbishops or bishops?
  • Chaplain William J. Beat, BSM, MSR
    commented 2015-04-22 13:44:47 -0500
    I received a couple of Email’s from my Priest at St. Mathew’s Catholic Church in Kansas City, Missouri today. I was warned by Fr. Johnson to SAY NOTHING TO THE CHILDREN ABOUT SNAP OR ABOUT PROTECTING THE CHILDREN FROM PEOPLE LIKE BISHOP FINN. I was mad as a hornet about a Priest saying for me a member of SNAP to hush-up and let the children find out for themselve’s. I hope member’s of SNAP and anyone else to write to this Priest and give him your view’s about these Pedophile Priest and being hushed up by a Priest.
  • Chaplain William J. Beat, BSM, MSR
    commented 2015-04-22 12:53:22 -0500
    Hello out their!!! Did everyone hear the latest about Bishop Finn??? The Pope did take the resignation for Bishop Finn BUT THAT IS NOT ALL OF IT. Bishop Finn was NOT defogged and is still a Bishop just NOT in the Kansas City, Missouri area. The Big Boy’s will be able to shuffle Bishop Finn out to another area and start all over his Pedophile Protection all over again. Chaplain Bill.
  • Barbra Graber
    commented 2015-04-22 10:01:02 -0500
    Kudos to the brave folks of SNAP who continue to go the distance in support of protecting children and exposing the truth. As a survivor from within the Mennonite Church, I am especially grateful to SNAP for leading the way and being so generous with support and education to those of us in Protestant denominations where, many of us believe, the problem is just as bad or worse.
  • Lanell Azcona
    commented 2015-04-22 09:31:37 -0500
    I think that the catholic church needs to stop protecting these priest and let them be charged for there crime. Even in the state of Florida where I live the bishop does nothing to protect the victims of there priests. We have heard it many times that they have to protect there priests. I can tell you it is true that the people that work for the catholic churches do lie to protect the priests. Which I think they should feel ashamed of themselves protecting someone that sexual assaults children and adults is sick and all for a job!
  • Bill Reidy
    commented 2015-04-21 21:04:53 -0500
    I was sexually abused by a Jesuit priest who was my high school advisor from 1976-1979. I repressed my memory until 2013 when a therapist was able to help suppress my memory. I have had many flash backs of the abuse (going on 20 times). The priest who abused me had abused 3 boys at schools in Ohio and Indiana before being shuffled to my high school. There has been 2 people other than myself who were abused by him.

    At my mediation, my sisters did some research on this guy and found out that he was honored for years in the priesthood and defrocked. The Chicago Archdiocese that controlled this high school had no idea that he was honored when he was defrocked. He was shuffled from my high school to a school in Oakland, CA and Detroit.

    I can’t stand that the Vatican can’t control the priests, I wouldn’t doubt that all the popes had abused kids and never admitted to it. As I read the old stories from 2002-now, I can’t believe that the cardinals and bishops could have stopped this decades ago, but know one wanted to step up to the plate. Were they afraid of getting caught too? Archdioceses would never have to payout survivors if they gotten rid of the predators. It seemed like the cardinals were paid a commission for every abuse a priest did.
  • Chaplain William J. Beat, BSM, MSR
    commented 2015-04-21 20:47:15 -0500
    About 8:00AM this Morning April 21st 2015 I thought that it was the 4th of July with all of the firework’s. On ALL of the TV New’s Channel’s the new’s of EX-Bishop Finn not our Bishop ANYMORE. Every Catholic felt so relieved and excited NOT to have a Pedophile Protector in our site’s. We all have suffered from the in-action of ex-Bishop Finn. Chaplain Bill.
  • Kim Stewart
    commented 2015-04-21 20:23:22 -0500
    And it just keeps on happening.. They say “money corrupts power” I SAY THE CHURCH DOES! THE RICHEST COMPANY IN THE WORLD!!
    I only wish my mind would bring back those three demons from Holy Name that abused a 13 year old boy over three years, but it won’t. My life has been a twisted mess no priorities no hope for a better world, and even jail. Yes my only parent my mother had her demons (drugs and drinking) witch put me on the streets more than home, but as I got older I stopped blaming her taking me to mass every Sunday, she never knew what I was going through and I will never forget their abuse on me.. NEVER
  • John and Ann Heydt
    commented 2015-04-21 19:44:05 -0500
    The pope “accepted his resignation”. ?? Should have been fired a long time ago.
  • Marinus Kruissen
    commented 2015-04-21 19:20:42 -0500
    There are so many more of them, worldwide. Priests who have escaped scrutiny because the victims do not wish to speak up. There was a national investigation some time ago in The Netherlands, sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church! Results, as expected, zilch, nada, niente.
    How much longer do we have to wait for recognition of the problem, many priests are child abusers and their superiors know about it.
  • Helen and Jim Schoeppner
    commented 2015-04-21 18:30:38 -0500
    Helenshep1 my opinion we can all verse our thoughts about the Catholic Regelion.
    We cannot do much to change anything, But we do know who can our God who sent us the Word the Ten Commandments to live by will take care of it all when he comes to the earth again . He will be in charge no more Popes to tell you anything who think they are God who can change his word who has been able to control millions of people .
    What a glories Day that will be .even your Popes will kneel before Almighty God .
  • Bill Reidy
    commented 2015-04-21 17:58:57 -0500
    I think God has figured that he is going to get the bad ones. Cardinal Egan died earlier this year and Cardinal George just died last week. Who will the next contestant to face God with apologizes?
  • Chris Tina Johnson
    commented 2015-04-21 17:43:05 -0500
    Gosh, what about Cardinal Roger Mahoney,Cardinal William Leveda, Bishop Joseph ferrario of Hawaii who died with honors in the church after raping David Figueroa, All the Bishops and cardinals and popes who covered up for him, all the catholics and politicians who covered up for him. Bishop Patrick Ziemann was also a perp, he eventually had to resign (but only after it was found he extorted several million dollars from the Santa Rosa Diocese and used a beeper to call his “boy toy for sex on demand”.. and these are just a few of the California criminal bishops who never got fired or forced to resign.. close to a dozen California Jesuits sexually harassed their own seminarian who won a settlement against them, All these articles about finn are just another cover up for the hundreds of not thousands of catholic bishops who enabled and covered up for predator priests and who trashed victims and their families.. pope francis himself before he was pope covered up for and protected a well liked priest in argentina who was popular and brought lots of money in to the church..
    Please don’t let this FINN be the scape goat for all the rest.. the priest hood “cult” ure is one of cover up and silence…
  • Michael Ference
    commented 2015-04-21 08:25:05 -0500
    Could Cardinal Donald “The Lavender Don” Wuerl be next?

    Read for yourself and judge for yourself:
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