Bishop Robert W. Finn's five-month delay in reporting to police a priest in possession of child pornography directly led to the abuse of a ten-year old girl, and qualifies as conspiracy to commit fraud, a lawsuit filed today alleges.
The suit, brought on behalf of the girl by her parents, says that Finn's delay in reporting diocesan priest Fr. Shawn Ratigan directly placed the girl in harm's way when her parents invited the priest into their home on several occasions, not knowing of his predilection toward taking lewd photographs of children.
During those occasions, the lawsuit says, the mother and father noticed Ratigan using his cell phone "under the dinner table," which, the family later learned, he was using to take sexually explicit photos.
The family is now concerned, the lawsuit says, that those photos "may have been distributed...over the internet."
The home visits came after Ratigan had been removed from parish ministry, but neither the parish nor accompanying school had been notified that lewd photos had been found on the priest's computer.