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Crime The Courts

US Bishop Charged For Not Reporting Priest's Child Porn To Police 430

Posted by timothy
from the thought-it-was-just-a-phase dept.
PolygamousRanchKid writes "Kansas City's Catholic bishop was charged Friday with not telling police about child pornography found on a priest's computer, making him the highest-ranking U.S. Catholic official indicted on a charge of failing to protect children. Finn has acknowledged that he and other diocese officials knew for months about hundreds of 'disturbing' images of children that were discovered on a priest's computer but did not report the matter to authorities or turn over the computer."
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US Bishop Charged For Not Reporting Priest's Child Porn To Police

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  • mixed feelings (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Friday October 14, 2011 @08:49PM (#37721014) Journal

    I was ambivalent about this at first, but on reflection I think this is a good thing. It helps break up the conspiracy of silence (due to not wanting to embarrass the order) that can shield a molester for years.

  • by jmcnally (100849) on Friday October 14, 2011 @08:59PM (#37721078)
    Why is this a slashdot story? There are plenty of forums for this terrible story.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:08PM (#37721138) Journal
    Honestly, that's the consistent thread with these clergy abuse cases that really makes it a matter of gross institutional rot, rather than an unfortunate but statistically inevitable consequence of having lots and lots of employees in contact with children.

    Overwhelmingly, each organizational layer has shown itself more concerned with coverup than with cleanup, and the church management still seems to be fighting their medieval battle to assert that their club's rules trump civil law... What is even more vexing is that they seem largely to be getting away with it. Some civil payouts, a few old men whose statue of limitations hasn't quite run out; but the leadership has been absolutely teflon throughout the whole affair.
  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:11PM (#37721158) Homepage

    This post is flamebait, but I'll respond in case a wider audience is interested in the question:

    How dare you or any modern man defend superstition, let alone Catholicism?

    Idunno. There's this whole "freedom of thought" and "tolerance" sort of thing going on, and it seems to have worked rather well for society over the past few centuries. If you don't defend the unpopular, you just end up with mob rule. You don't want mob rule; it would be a real pity if we threw away the notion of tolerance and later rational thought landed on the wrong side of public opinion. Also working out rather well: "innocent until proven guilty". And from the bad ideas file: "guilt by association" and "people who don't agree with me are inhuman scum".

    In any event, the problem really isn't that the typical Catholic priests is a child molestor. The problem is that child molestors actively seek positions of trust and authority to perpetrate their crimes and the church has been inadequate in its response. Before you exercise your prejudice, think of the children - your prejudice may hide the real danger.

  • by thepainguy (1436453) <thepainguy@gmail.com> on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:19PM (#37721216) Homepage
    What really bothers me is that the laypeople get it and are trying to do the appropriate thing, but when they run things up the chain the guys up there clearly STILL don't get it. I don't know if it's arrogance or ignorance or what (but the Opus Dei reference makes me wonder about lingering old-school arrogance).
  • by bcrowell (177657) on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:23PM (#37721246) Homepage

    if the priest's superior knows that his priest-employee has been looking at kiddie porn for 30 years with no instances of abuse, then he can come to a reasonable conclusion that he won't abuse.

    "In a memo dated May 19, 2010, Hess wrote that several people had complained Ratigan was taking compromising pictures of young children and that he allowed them to sit on his lap and reach into his pocket for candy."

    The problem is, the law is ordering you to ruin someone's career and life when no one has been harmed,[...]

    If the porn is a cartoon drawing, then probably no child has been harmed. But that wasn't the case here. "Seven months later, a computer technician working on Ratigan's laptop found hundreds of what he called "disturbing" images of children, most of them fully clothed with the focus on their crotch areas, and a series of pictures of a 2- to 3-year-old girl with her genitals exposed." If someone took crotch shots of my daughter when she was 2, I would certainly consider that "harm."

  • by flaming error (1041742) on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:33PM (#37721308) Journal

    somebody that has pornographic pictures of children nude or engaged in sexual acts is a reasonable indicator that they are sexually aroused by such images and situations,

    Sounds likely.

    and at some point, will attempt to bring their own fantasies to life

    Whoa, Nellie. Small difference between looking and fantasizing, huge difference between fantasizing and doing.

  • by yndrd1984 (730475) on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:35PM (#37721312)

    Is a Catholic Bishop considered an employer?

    Who do you think hires and fires Catholic priests?

    Having some photos of girls that might be 16-17 showing off their tits (developed tits) at a club or party is not child porn.

    In the real world maybe not, but according to the legal system it certainly is.

    I would think that somebody that has pornographic pictures of children nude or engaged in sexual acts is a reasonable indicator that ... at some point, [they] will attempt to bring their own fantasies to life.

    Absolutely not. Limiting myself to fantasies I had today at work, I can think of three - running my boss over with a car, having sex with the married hottie, and taking an axe to a certain server - that I would never act upon. I can't bring myself to believe that people who fantasize about children are somehow the only ones who must, without fail, act on their every dark desire.

    If I found child pornography on a computer in my company I would investigate it immediately. Absolute first thing I would determine is if the employee is actually accessing it, and is it accessible from the public Internet. Meaning, was my company hacked and the system being used as a dump to serve child porn. Either way, once my initial investigation was complete (which would be that day), I would involve the authorities without question.

    This I agree with, without reservation.

  • by demonlapin (527802) on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:41PM (#37721342) Homepage Journal
    What do you expect out of a system that denies priests the right to marry? These scandals don't routinely rock the Episcopal, Lutheran, or Orthodox communities, because you can be a priest and still have a sex life in those denominations.
  • Brain washing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by deatypoo (1837038) on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:51PM (#37721396)
    In related news, this week on public radio airwaves, Father Raymond Gravel http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Gravel [wikipedia.org] of the Canadian Roman Catholic Church compared the out of court settlement of 18 millions CAD (for 85 victims between 1950 and 1990) to being akin to turning the victims into prostitutes, because they would then be getting money in return of the sexual acts they performed. I almost crashed my car into a local church out of anger.
  • by artor3 (1344997) on Friday October 14, 2011 @10:14PM (#37721510)

    I would think that somebody that has pornographic pictures of children nude or engaged in sexual acts is a reasonable indicator that they are sexually aroused by such images and situations, and at some point, will attempt to bring their own fantasies to life.

    This a very dangerous line of reasoning. Everyone fantasizes about breaking the law from time to time; few people act on those impulses. Criminalizing bad thoughts is a terrible, terrible idea. Child porn is bad because it's abusive to the children involved in making it, and gives a profit incentive for film makers to abuse more children. It should be illegal for those reasons. As soon as you start accepting the notion that things can be illegal to think about, you start walking down a very dark path, and you won't like where it ends.

  • by EdIII (1114411) on Friday October 14, 2011 @10:24PM (#37721546)

    I never disputed that it was illegal under the current laws. Just the throwing it all into one category is bullshit.

    It's perfectly normal to be attracted to 16-18 year old girls sexually when they are fully developed young women. That's biology. Sentencing a 21 year old man to prison time for having a 17 year girl friend and possessing naked pictures of her is just retarded.

    My point was in making the distinction of what is a biological motivation to be sexually attracted to the opposite sex (or same) and being sexually attracted towards children.

    It's different, and the law says they are the same. If am I going to be part of sentencing a man (or woman) to prison for "child" porn, it had better damn well be children and not some sexually active 16 year old girl actively seeking sexual partners. If it is a 16 year old boy, actively seeking sexual partners is a given 99.9999% of the time.

    So if I find some pictures on a guys computer at work where it's possible that it might be some high school cheerleaders I would probably just ignore it. 7 year old girls, or worse boys? I am going to report that because I do consider him a threat to children and needing of psychological evaluation. Prison time is a bit harsh for simple possession, but I am certainly not going to be silent about it.

  • Re:mixed feelings (Score:2, Insightful)

    by flosofl (626809) on Friday October 14, 2011 @10:35PM (#37721602) Homepage
    What is so hard to understand? Consumption *creates* demand. Demand is fulfilled BY CREATING MORE CHILD PORN. How in the world do you reach the conclusion that possession does not make the owner of said "product" culpable?

    This isn't stuff you can find on USENET anymore. These... creatures... have to seek out distributors of this vile muck. They either supply their own in exchange in a tit-for-tat system, or they pay for it.
  • by BrokenHalo (565198) on Friday October 14, 2011 @10:44PM (#37721654)

    7 year old girls, or worse boys? I am going to report that...

    As a matter of interest, why is it worse to abuse a boy than a girl?

  • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Friday October 14, 2011 @11:04PM (#37721744)

    Anyone who has it is fueling that abuse.

    That's probably only true if they bought it. If they silently obtain it from elsewhere (the producers don't even know about it), then I don't see how that is.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Friday October 14, 2011 @11:06PM (#37721752) Homepage Journal

    Whoa, Nellie. Small difference between looking and fantasizing, huge difference between fantasizing and doing.

    Consider this: It is not the consumption of illicit drugs that is illegal, but the mere possession of them.

    Possession of child pornography is no different than actual child abuse in my books, because the abusive images came from somewhere and by collecting them, you are providing the "customer demand" for more abuse of children.

    Any organization has a responsibility to report child pornography and child abuse. But the church still has this bizarre idea that they're above the law and can deal with the issue "internally". Even the First Nations with their tribal councils don't try to shield molestors or abusers around here, and they're about as militant as you can get about meting out justice through their system instead of the courts.

  • Wait a minute. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Kano (13027) on Friday October 14, 2011 @11:32PM (#37721856) Homepage Journal

    I get that it's illegal to possess child porn. I get that it's illegal to make child porn. How in the fuck is it illegal to know that someone else has child porn?

    LK

  • by EdIII (1114411) on Friday October 14, 2011 @11:55PM (#37721938)

    Yeah. Uh huh.

    My responsibility runs a little bit higher. Silly me, I don't have a supervisor. What I am concerned about is hundreds of jobs that depend on me doing my job.

    Sorry, that law enforcement is such a cluster fuck of stupidity, corruption, and ineptitude. That's not my fault.

    My fears about them coming in and taking everything down are well, well, well justified. So I will still perform my own investigation before risking having the company destroyed, because there is one thing I know for certain....... the cops don't give two shits about the hundreds of employees while I do. They won't care when they take all the equipment and put those hundreds of employees out of a job.

    The greatest liability to the company is the equipment seizure. Depending on just how much they take and where, and the FBI has jurisdiction in every state to do it, I am not sure the company could recover from it.

    So when I make my decision, I am forced to factor in the fate of every employee. So despite what you said, I am going to be certain before I do anything.

    So keep your judgement to yourself and don't say I am not acting professionally, because I am. What I am not doing is acting selfishly.

    Maybe if law enforcement was more reasonable and not associated with the two tons of horror stories and Patriot Act bullshit people like me would not have reason to fear them coming and doing what they have done many times in the past to other companies.

    Think about that for a minute.

    P.S - If I was certain that the police would come in and perform their forensics in the system while maintaining uptime, and even collecting more evidence over time in a cooperative fashion, I would jump at in a second. Unfortunately, we live in a world ruled by fucking morons who don't know the first thing about technology and go rampaging through infrastructure like a raging bull unless you have really really influential connections and strong legal defenses to make them think twice.

    P.S - My job, as the highest IT professional in the company, is keeping the technology we have working so other employees can do theirs. That's the job. Destroying the infrastructure in a hasty irresponsible manner is not acting professionally.

  • by bledri (1283728) on Saturday October 15, 2011 @01:12AM (#37722156)

    If only it were so benign. It's actually a case of sabotage and infiltration of the Church by Satanists and Freemasons. ...

    Are you implying that the child molesters are not "real Catholic Priests," but rather Satanists and Freemasons that have specifically infiltrated the church? Seems a bit unlikely. A more likely explanation is that it's not "normal" for an 18 year-old male to choose a life of celibacy and some of the people that do so may actually have issues with their sexual impulses and may decide that serving God and abstaining from sex completely might be best. Until one day, they don't control the urges and then the church covers it up because we can't have people realizing that priests are just fallible people and not some sort of magical God conduit.

    The Church will heal only once it acknowledges ...

    ... that it's all based on the writings and traditions of humans, not the divine word of God.

The sooner all the animals are extinct, the sooner we'll find their money. - Ed Bluestone

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