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Accountability

Kansas City bishop found guilty in child abuse case

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For the first time in the decades-long clergy sex abuse crisis, a Catholic bishop has been found guilty of criminally shielding a priest who was a threat to children.

Bishop Robert Finn, the head of the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese, received the verdict Thursday on one misdemeanor count of failing to report suspected child abuse in the case of a local priest who had been known to be in possession of lewd images of children.

UPDATE: Priest steps down from TV show after comments on sexual abuse

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NEW YORK -- Fr. Benedict Groeschel, a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal who has long been a popular speaker and television personality, apologized Aug. 30 for interview comments he made that were published online two days earlier, saying that "in a lot of cases" the victim of child sexual abuse is "the seducer."

Groeschel also had said priests who have committed abuse just one time should not go to jail.

In the interview, Groeschel referred to Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach who was convicted in June on 45 charges relating to the sexual abuse of 10 different boys, as a "poor guy."

"I apologize for my comments. I did not intend to blame the victim," said Groeschel, 78, in an Aug. 30 statement. "A priest -- or anyone else -- who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible. My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be."

Eternal Word Television Network announced Monday that Groeschel had decided to step down as host of its "Sunday Night Prime" television show after consulting with EWTN and his religious community.

Questions raised over Kansas City bishop's 'boys will be boys' comment

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When the computer systems manager of the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese told her bishop, Robert Finn, that she had found lewd images of children on a priest's laptop, he replied, "Sometimes boys will be boys," according to sworn testimony that appears in court documents filed Thursday.

Settlement reached in civil trial of retired Mass. bishops

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- A Massachusetts man who was abused in the 1980s by Alfred F. Graves, a former priest of the Springfield Diocese, agreed to a $500,000 settlement with retired Springfield Bishops Joseph F. Maguire and Thomas L. Dupre July 27.

The agreement, worked out late July 26, ended a dramatic civil trial that featured emotional testimony by the abuse victim, Andrew Nicastro, now 41, his family members and two priests who testified to the harm caused by Graves from 1982 to 1985.

Nicastro, of Williamstown, alleged the bishops had been negligent during their respective tenures as head of the diocese by returning the former priest to ministry with insufficient supervision knowing he had a history of abusing boys. He filed suit in 2009.

Bishop Maguire, now 92, was named coadjutor for Springfield in 1976, was installed in 1977 and retired in 1991. His successor, Bishop John A. Marshall, died in 1994. Bishop Dupre, now 78, was appointed to succeed him and was installed in 1995. Citing health reasons, he resigned in 2004.

"The testimony was compelling," John Stobierski, Nicastro's principal attorney, said after the trial.

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September 26-October 9, 2014

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