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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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  • Timothy (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:44PM (#37720990)

    gtfo

  • by iluvcapra (782887) on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:47PM (#37721008)

    It would seem strange that an employer would be required to report such a thing, particularly if there was no evidence that any child had been harmed, however, it would appear to be so, the indictment is specifically for "Failure of Mandated Reporter to Report." Here is the relevant Missouri statute [mo.gov].

    PP 4 reads:

    In addition to those persons and officials required to report actual or suspected abuse or neglect, any other person may report in accordance with sections 210.109 to 210.183 if such person has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been or may be subjected to abuse or neglect or observes a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances which would reasonably result in abuse or neglect.

    Does possession of child porn constitute "reasonable cause to suspect"?

  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:55PM (#37721058) Homepage

    Does possession of child porn constitute "reasonable cause to suspect"?

    You'd have to ask the judge and jury.

    Also, thank you for thinking about the law instead of jumping on the "hate hate hate + guilty until proven innocent" bandwagon. I'd mod you up if I hadn't wasted all my points for the day.

  • by iluvcapra (782887) on Friday October 14, 2011 @10:13PM (#37721166)

    You'd have to ask the judge and jury.

    As far as the law is concerned it's probably not much of an issue, if you asked me and my kid was in that class I'd say "hell yes!" The first part of the law is very much built around what you do if you see or suspect abuse, not abuse that may happen... 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. He should definitely FIRE the guy, and carefully interview everyone around him, the children he has been in contact with, and their families.

    But I guess the families have a right to know why the teacher is leaving, and they'd all be rather motivated to drop a dime on him, so I guess the law is proper -- it compels the mandated person to do what was eventually going to have to happen anyways, even if it were less demanding.

    The problem is, the law is ordering you to ruin someone's career and life when no one has been harmed, when merely firing someone or moving them out of contact with children would be a completely suitable remedy to the danger the law is trying to prevent. If the cops throw up a sting and catch him with kiddie porn, then the law's the law and he should go to jail, but are we ready to force people's friends and coworkers to turn someone in for this?

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday October 14, 2011 @11:04PM (#37721458) Journal

    Well I have a friend that works in the state crime lab on this very subject and he says many they bust (and the prosecutors give insanely huge sentences to) are what he calls "social retards" that frankly aren't a threat to anyone, young or old. One they busted hadn't even left his home since 1997, and when touched would freak and screech like a wounded animal. they ended up having to tranq him to get him out the home. he got 65 years BTW thanks to the several thousand CP pics he had.

    The way he explained it to me was that these social retards don't interact with ANYBODY if they can help it, instead they live their entire "life" if you want to call it that, on their machines looking at porn. And just like a junkie who needs a larger fix to keep his habit these retards will need worse and worse porn to keep being able to even get it up. He said the porn they find ALWAYS follows a set pattern as well. First it is straight, then straight fetish (stockings, anal, gangbang, etc) followed by trannies, then B&D/S&M, then finally bestiality and CP. He also said you will find literally pounds and pounds of porn, but its all the same shit that has been floating around the net since the days of bulletin boards.

    So just from what he has seen I'd say there is your proof there are plenty that can have a fantasy and not act on it, hell you could have put "tranq boy" into a room with a naked 9 year old and he could have curled up into a ball in the corner and screeched. I agree with him that the police would be a better use if they simply got shrinks for the social retards and instead focus manpower on the scum that actually hunt kids, but sadly the prosecutors want big busts as those make big headlines and they don't get big busts when it comes to actual child rapists as it can takes sometimes years to track them down. Sadly I doubt this will ever change as nobody has the guts to say anything that could come out as "being soft on CP" so they'll just waste resources chasing retards while the real hunter scum won't get busted unless their victims come forward.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 15, 2011 @12:45AM (#37721900)

    For several years, I was pastor of a small Baptist church (on a part-time basis.)

    A few weeks after I started, the flakiest woman in the congregation told me about how the old pastor was a child molester, and nobody would do anything about it, so finally she took matters into her own hands by leaving a letter on the pulpit to make him resign. Didn't know what to think (at the time, didn't know she was the church flake) so I kind of "hmm'd" and nodded and didn't say much. Stayed there for several years, and she decided she didn't like me because I didn't preach from the King James Version and I tended to mention -- God help us -- movies from the pulpit. Watching them was fine, but mentioning them from the pulpit was sacrilege. One Sunday, I found an anonymous letter in the pulpit accusing me of being a child molester. I wasn't about to be run out of the place by this woman, so I called a meeting of the deacons and we dealt with it as a matter of church discipline. She repented and it was, I think, a growth experience for her. I ultimately left the church because my wife left me (long story) but I'm still on good terms with the people there. (I'm now an Anglican, by the way, because I couldn't stand what passes for theological discourse in the Southern Baptist Convention anymore.)

    The point? Not every allegation of clergy sexual abuse is true. Not every accuser is lily white innocent. One of the interesting things about operating a church and being in the ministry is that you have to deal with people who may not always be reliable, because those are the people who need you the most. That's why the Bible says that you shouldn't entertain an accusation against an "elder" (i.e. a priest -- Greek presbyteros) without two or three witnesses.

    That's not to say that the Roman Catholic church doesn't have a problem with how they handle genuine clerical abuse. They do. And, if what is being said in the article even resembles the truth, the Bishop in this case screwed up big time and deserves to be deposed. But I don't remotely believe some of the numbers that are bandied about regarding RC sexual abuse. Some of the people who make allegations were genuinely abused, but I suspect that at least as many have an axe to grind with the church or are looking for a cash payout.

    Okay, said my piece.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 15, 2011 @01:12AM (#37721998)

    I see a lot of people advocating the merits of "mandated reporting," in various forms. The problem with mandated reporting is that, if you are someone who is dealing with a problem, it means you can't seek help from anyone.

    I had a friend who was a single father, and he had a problem with controlling his temper with his son. It was not so bad that his son was in danger -- he was just stressed out and needed someone to talk to before it got that bad. But he had a truly evil ex-wife waiting in the wings for any excuse to take the son away from him and make sure that he never saw his son again. My friend couldn't afford to take any chances. He couldn't talk honestly to a counselor, because if he did the counselor might decide he had to report it -- and as soon as the phone call was made my friend's ex-wife would find out and legal action (that my friend couldn't afford) would ensue. And going to the ex-wife wouldn't be better for the kids for reasons too complicated to explain. Suffice it to say that she's pretty much a sociopath. He couldn't talk to most friends, because they might report him too. He couldn't talk to an attorney, because he couldn't afford one. Finally, he talked to a pastor, who is not (in Virginia) a mandated reporter. Fortunately, the pastor had taken a lot of counseling classes in seminary and was able to help him. But ... this situation went on for years after my friend knew he needed help. And in a lot of states pastors are mandated reporters.

    Then what does the marginal "offender," who just needs some help without the risk, do? Mandated reporting is like zero-tolerance laws. It's built on the assumption that good rules are better than good people. And that's just not the case.

  • by daemonenwind (178848) on Saturday October 15, 2011 @01:36AM (#37722074)

    The Bible says, "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matthew 5:28.

    I don't think it's a big leap to apply this teaching to looking at kiddie porn.
    Sounds like it's time for some bishops to (re)read the guidebook.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 15, 2011 @07:15AM (#37722942)

    It's not enough though, to just say these people are harmless and a waste of police time and send them back to their basements to play with their porn collections. Whatever the effect on society, it's not good for them to get caught up in the more miserable end of society's output without any of the benefits and safeguards that full social integration provides.

    In short, these retards should be in care.

    It's also a timely reminder that the porn industry is built on exploitation, not just of it's workforce but also of it's consumers.

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