KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The county prosecutor who brokered a deal with the local bishop to give his office immediate oversight of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese's sex abuse reporting procedures says the agreement could be a model for other jurisdictions.
He also dismissed criticism that he let Bishop Robert Finn off easy by not charging him with failure to report suspected child abuse, a misdemeanor.
Speaking to NCR by phone, Clay County, Mo., prosecutor Daniel White said he decided to pursue the diversion agreement partly because it "cuts to the chase" and makes sure future cases of sexual misconduct are reported to the police.
Moreover, even if he were able to gain a conviction against Finn for his handling of the case of Fr. Shawn Ratigan, White said it would be for a misdemeanor.
"In the range of punishment for a misdemeanor, the maximum is a year in the county jail," White said. "Given the facts and circumstances surrounding what happened, I thought that I got the biggest bang for my buck with this agreement."