In waiving a jury trial, Bishop Finn and his lawyers placed the case before a judge. One guilty conviction resulted. Two years probation with suspended sentence. Eight conditions of the probation must be maintained, and after those two years, the bishop’s criminal record may be expunged. At this hour, a fair amount of detail here. The only conditions I see are training for the bishop, a clergy institute for the diocese, and a $10,000 fund for victims.
Following the internet coverage live was a bit surreal.
I suspect some of my friends in Kansas City will be disappointed. And I have to measure my own inner furor, against the reasonable thought that my former bishop has learned a deep lesson that his St Louis career did not prepare him for. But the reality is that Shawn Ratigan was a watcher, and it seems that young girls were spared the potential brutality of rape. Even so, my daughter and her peers were certainly affected by this. I hope one condition is the personal confrontation with those whose faith has been damaged from all this. What can an individual possibly say to rebuild the spiritual damage? The damage to himself as a bishop. As a priest. As a faith leader. The damage to young people’s faith.
Speaking for myself, I would tend to not trust my inner glee at seeing a bishop go to jail. Philadelphia was a bit more serious, though. If Cardinal Bevilacqua were still alive, perhaps not so much distrust there.