From the link: http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/04/06/45378.htm
Diocese and Bishop Are Still on the Hook
By JOE HARRIS
Friday, April 6,2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) – A Jackson County judge refused to dismiss misdemeanor charges accusing the Kansas City Diocese and its bishop of shielding an abusive priest.
Bishop Robert Finn and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph are charged with failing to report suspected child abuse. Prosecutors said Finn and the diocese are mandatory reporters of abuse under state law.
Defense attorneys claimed the law is unconstitutionally vague, and that Finn was not the diocese’s designated reporter. Finn is the highest-ranking U.S. Roman Catholic official criminally charged for shielding an abusive priest, The Associated Press reported.
Finn has acknowledged that he was told in December 2010 about hundreds of images of small children, some of them pornographic, on the computer of the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, and that a parish principal raised concerns about Ratigan’s behavior around children as early as May 2010.
But the diocese failed to turn over a disk containing the photos to local police until May 2011, after the church received reports that Ratigan had violated orders to stay away from children, according to the AP.
Finn and the diocese were charged with failing to report suspected child abuse.
“This court finds and concludes that persons of ordinary intelligence have no difficulty understanding the meaning of ‘immediately report,'” Circuit Judge John Torrence wrote.
Torrence also denied a request from attorneys for Finn and the diocese to have the cases tried separately, granted two defense motions to quash subpoenas and one to extend the deadlines before the trial, which is set for Sept. 24.
Finn has claimed that Vicar General Robert Murphy and a diocese review board were responsible for reporting suspected images of child pornography to the state. Prosecutors claim Finn was a mandatory reporter and admitted as much before a grand jury.
Ratigan is in jail, charged with three state child pornography counts and 13 federal counts of producing, possessing and attempting to produce child porn. He has pleaded not guilty.
Court: Bishop Finn is required to report child abuse
Yael T. Abouhalkah
In a full-scale setback for Bishop Robert Finn, he lost a legal battle today when a judge ordered him to stand trial in a child abuse case.
You can read the full ruling regarding this nationally watched case by Jackson County Circuit Judge John Torrence here.
Finn essentially lost the most important bid he and his lawyers were making in court, which was to throw the whole thing out.
And here’s a key part of the Torrence ruling:
“The court finds that the evidence in this case is sufficient to allow a jury to conclude that Bishop Finn was a designated reporter as defined by Missouri law.”
Note: The judge obviously wasn’t reaching a conclusion on whether Finn had or had not violated the law in a specific case of child abuse.
But he was striking down a key contention made by Finn and his supporters, that he shouldn’t even be a mandatory reporter when it came to abuse of minors.
Yes, he should be on that list, the judge said.
This ruling ratchets up the possibility that Finn may become the highest ranking Catholic to be found guilty of participating in the church’s long-standing coverup of sexual abuse of minors.
- Unusual new abuse & cover up lawsuit is filed
- Accused predator priest violated four boys in one family
- The alleged crimes happened in Independence over two decades
For the first time, a KC area Catholic priest is being accused sexually violating four boys in one family, according to a new civil lawsuit. The case will be disclosed and discussed at a news conference today at which clergy sex abuse victims will also hold signs and childhood photos.
TODAY, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 1:30 p.m.
Outside the KC chancery (diocesan headquarters) 20 West Ninth Street (at Baltimore) in KC MO
Two child sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a St. Louis man who is the organization’s long-time director
A new civil lawsuit charges that Fr. John Tulipana sexually assaulted four boys (ranging in age from 10 – 16) in one family in/around St. Catherine’s parish between roughly 1976 and 1992. Most of the alleged crimes happened between 1979-81, sometimes on camping and fishing trips and sometimes at the family’s home. Some of the boys repressed the memories of the abuse, according to the suit.
Tulipana left active ministry in the mid-1990s because of credible abuse allegations.
In 1989, Richard Durocher told church officials Tulipana had abused him as a child. The diocese gave him $150,000 but demanded that he sign a “gag order” preventing him from discussing the abuse. Durocher was promised that Tulipana would receive therapy and children would be protected. But Tulipana was allowed to stay in active ministry with access to kids. In 1994, Durocher broke his silence, the KC Star wrote about the case, and Tulipana resigned. Since then, the diocese has admitted that others have come forward with sex abuse charges and they have settled with at least “several” of them.
Tulipana was ordained in 1972 and worked in at least eight parishes including Independence (Nativity of Mary), Grandview (Coronation of Our Lady), Clinton (Holy Rosary), and Kansas City (St. Catherine’s at 4101 E. 105th Terrace; St. Augustine’s at 7801 the Paseo; Christ the King at 85th Street & Wornall Road; Holy Trinity at 934 Norton Ave., and, in the mid-1990s, at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception). He also taught at the University of Dallas.
Tulipana is believed to be in his mid- 60s, working as an insurance agent, and living at 301 S. Shrank in Independence. A photo of Tulipana is available at http://bishop-accountability.org/member/psearch.jsp.
According to 2010 lawsuit “multiple priests and lay persons (knew) that Tulipana (and another priest, Fr. Thomas Cronin) were sexually abusing children, providing liquor to children and spending inordinate amounts of time with children.” http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2010/09_10/2010_10_05_Hart_TwoExpriests.htm
That suit also says that the KC diocese “aided and abetted” Cronin and Tulipana “by moving the priests from church to church following reports of his sexual abuse of minors,” by forcing the victims to be silent by representing that the priests were in good standing.Jack
The new suit seeks unspecified damages and is filed in Jackson County Circuit Court.
SNAP worries that others who have been hurt by Fr. Tulipana may still be “suffering in shame, isolation and self blame” and want Catholic officials to “aggressively reach out to others in pain.”
KC attorney Rebecca Randles represents the victim. KC lawyer Jon Haden represents the diocese (which is also named as a defendant.) SNAP doesn’t know if Tulipana has a lawyer.
Earlier this month, similar suits were filed against two other KC priests – Fr. Thomas Ford (who hadn’t been publicly accused of abuse before) and Fr. James Urbanic (who was suspended from active ministry at Sacred Heart parish in Warrensburg last summer).
SNAP: Survivors Network for those Abused by Priest has come under a hardball attack by the Roman Catholic Church and it’s Perverted Pimps and Leaders.
Bishops reportedly approved new “hardball” strategy v. SNAP
- Bishops reportedly approved new “hardball” strategy v. SNAP
- Group tells top church officials: “Go after predators, not victims”
- It begs Catholics and citizens for help in fighting “unprecedented attacks”
- And it urges St. Louis archbishop to “come clean” about who’s behind the moves
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will respond to a new page one New York Times story today and will urge St. Louis’ archbishop to:
–stop demanding the private e mails of a teenaged St. Louis child sex crime victim,
–apologize for and explain his decision to make this “intimidating” move, and
–disclose which bishops may have discussed or approved a new church “hardball” legal strategy.
They will also beg parishioners and the public to
–contact Catholic officials and insist that they stop and/or denounce this legal tactics, and
–use their time, energy, and donations to help the support group “fight the legal attacks.”
Today, Tuesday, March 13, 2:00 p.m.
Outside archdiocesan chancery office, 4445 Lindell (near Sarah) in St. Louis MO
Two-four clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a confidential support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) including the organization’s long time director
A page one New York Times story today details what victims and their advocates are calling an unprecedented attacks” by Missouri Catholic officials to “intimidate child sex abuse victims, witnesses, whistleblowers and those who help them” by seeking subpoenas and massive amounts of private communications between victims and a support group.
It quotes the head of the NY-based Catholic League as suggesting that several bishops have decided to “come together collectively” to “better toughen up” (However, the US bishops’ official public relations staffer denies this.)
In St. Louis, archdiocesan lawyers are demanding that SNAP turn over perhaps hundreds of pages of the group’s confidential records, including emails to and from a now 19 year old who was repeatedly raped nine years ago by a priest. And in Kansas City, church lawyers and demanding private communications going back 23 years, even from now-deceased individuals who never set foot in KC and who had no knowledge of or role in clergy sex cases there.
The demands, SNAP says, are “invasive, chilling, and designed to discourage victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors and journalists” from contacting the group for help. They are also costing SNAP tens of thousands of dollars and “causing severe financial hardship” to the group. So SNAP is begging the public and parishioners to “use their resources, clout, voices and donations” to help the organization survive.
The demands arise from two civil lawsuits one called “Jane Doe v. Fr. Joseph D. Ross and the St. Louis archdiocese” and another called “John Doe BP v. Fr. Michael Tierney and the Kansas City diocese.”
The St. Louis suit charges that Ross molested a girl from 1997-2001 at St. Cronan’s Catholic church in the Grove neighborhood of St. Louis city. In 1988, Ross pled guilty to sexually assaulting an 11 year old boy. But after his sentence was completed, Catholic officials quietly put Ross at St. Cronan’s and warned no one of his criminal past. Ross worked as recently as 2002. His current whereabouts are unknown.
The Kansas City suit charges that Tierney molested a boy. At least four other accusers in separate lawsuits have come forward against Tiereny and he was suspended last year because church officials deemed some of the allegations credible.
SNAP believes that this intrusion into the private messages and writings of a child rape survivor is “unwarranted, unnecessary, and hurtful.” They are calling on the two Missouri bishops to call off these hardball tactics immediately. And they want a former St. Louisan, NYC Cardinal Timothy Dolan (who heads the US Conference of Bishops) to publicly denounce the bishops who are using this “mean-spirited” legal tactic.
The demands for document are and depositions are “firsts” in SNAP’s 23 year history. SNAP is not a party to either lawsuit.
Ross has been defrocked. In recent years, he lived in Arkansas but worked in the St. Louis area for 30+ years. Tierney is still a priest and believed to be living in Kansas City.
SNAP is holding similar events today in Washington DC(where the US Conference of Catholic Bishops is headquartered) and New York City (where Dolan, head of the USCCB, now works).