Pope Francis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn, the U.S. bishop who had pleaded guilty in 2012 for not reporting a suspected child abuser, the Associated Press (AP) reported. The news comes as part of the first known case of a pope’s crackdown on a bishop who covered up for a pedophile.
Finn did not report for six months the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, whose computer contained hundreds of pornographic images of children taken around churches where he worked, according to AP. Ratigan, who pleaded guilty to child pornography charges, was sentenced to 50 years in prison in September 2013.
The 62-year-old Finn, who leads the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for covering up for Ratigan, and was sentenced to two years of probation in 2012. Since then, local church-goers have pressurized him to step down and the case sparked outrage and fuelled anger among the victims over the delay being made to remove him from his position.
Finn offered his resignation under the code of canon law, which allows bishops to resign early because of an illness or due to some "grave" reason that makes them unsuitable to continue work, the Vatican said Tuesday, according to AP.
Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the pope's top sex abuse adviser, had reportedly stated earlier that the pontiff needed to “urgently” make a decision in Finn’s case.