Bishop Robert Finn issues apology following the verdict

An American bishop was convicted yesterday for failing to report child abuse.

Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St Joseph was convicted of one count of failing to report suspected abuse and acquitted on another count in a brief trial.

Judge John Torrence issued the verdict and quickly set and suspended a sentence of two years’ probation. The charges carried a possible maximum sentence of a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 (£627, €788).

In a courtroom statement following the verdict, Bishop Finn said he was sorry for the hurt the events had caused.

Bishop Finn was indicted last October on the misdemeanor charges of failing to report suspected child abuse to state authorities.

The case began in December 2010, after a computer technician discovered child pornography on a computer used by Fr Shawn Ratigan and turned it over to the diocese.

The authorities were not notified until six months later, when a search of the priest’s family home turned up images of child pornography. Fr Ratigan pleaded guilty in August to five counts of producing child pornography.

The Jackson County Circuit Court announced on Wednesday that a bench, or non-jury, trial would be held the next day, rather than the scheduled jury trial on September 24.

The Diocese of Kansas City-St Joseph faced similar charges, but the judge severed the cases as Bishop Finn’s trial began.