Bishop Finn Conviction Brings Mixed Reaction

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The reaction to the conviction of Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic Diocese Bishop Robert Finn was mixed, as some people thought that the penalty wasn't tough enough -- while others say that they still stand behind the embattled bishop.

Finn was found guilty of one misdemeanor count of failure to report suspected child abuse, and acquitted of another similar charge, in a Jackson County courtroom on Thursday afternoon in connection to the child porn case involving former Northland priest Shawn Rattigan. He was sentenced to two years probation, which was suspended, and forced to implement a number of new child abuse reporting programs within the diocese.

Related: Bishop Guilty on 1 of 2 Charges

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said that they applaud the guilty verdict, but wish that victims had the opportunity to speak out in court, and had asked prosecutors to not be sentenced right away.

"It's huge that there finally has been a ruling in an American court that a bishop has concealed and ignored and enabled child sex crimes," said David Clohessy of SNAP. "We certainly think it would have been more just and more healing if the victims of Father Ratigan's crimes and Bishop Finn's crimes had an opportunity to address the court."

Bob Roper, who describes himself as a life-long Catholic and who has known Finn since the bishop arrived in Kansas City, says that the decision to have a bench trial was probably best for everybody involved.

"There were policies and procedures in place that were not followed. We understand that does not mean we turn our back on the pastor of our diocese," said Roper, who described the punishment as fair. "We pretty much knew what the facts were. It's a matter of now deciding what to do with those facts, and I think the bench trial got us to that point correctly, accurately, quickly saving all the embarrassment that could come with a jury trial"

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