Supporters of Bishop Finn gather for prayer rally

More than three dozen supporters of Bishop Robert Finn gathered for a prayer rally Saturday and held a news conference saying that the misdemeanor charge against him should be dismissed.

“This is not a cover-up and this is not a knowing endangerment of children,” said Michael Quinlan, a St. Louis attorney who spoke at the press conference held by the group Justice for Bishop Finn at Divine Mercy Park in the Northland.

Finn took the steps any reasonable person would have taken in the way he handled the case of the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, Quinlan said. Ratigan faces child pornography charges in Clay County and federal court.

Finn has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failing to report child abuse suspicions in Jackson County involving Ratigan.

A Jackson County grand jury in October indicted Finn and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph each on the charge of failing to report.

In November, Finn avoided a possible similar charge in Clay County by agreeing to a five-year diversion program.

At the news conference, writer Jack Cashill criticized The Kansas City Star, and to a lesser degree other media, for its coverage of the case.