SNAP STANDS WATCH OUTSIDE THE JACKSON COUNTY COURTHOUSE ON THE DAY OF BISHOP FINN'S TRIAL!!!
Here's a look the members of SNAP standing watch over The Jackson County Courthouse today as Bishop Finn stand trial.
David Clohessy, (Seen here in the white shirt on mic) SNAP director and spokesman was giving statements to the press.
We heard a bit and took a moment of pause when he reminded us:
"There is no evidence that abuse in the Catholic Church has decreased because it often takes years and decades for victims to come forward."
The group will continue to stand watch throughout the day.
We've heard that CBS national news is making its way to Kansas City in order to file a national report on the case.
What was exceptionally interesting this morning . . . I had a chance to quickly interview Sister Jeanne Christensen RSM.
I asked her if there was any conflict between being a member of the Church and standing against sex abuse with SNAP. Sr. Christensen worked with the diocese until very recently on sex abuse cases but stood with the members of SNAP today.
Here's what she said . . .
"As a Sister, I don't know why I wouldn't work on the effort to prevent sex abuse within the Church in whatever capacity I am capable. That is part of being a Sister. I've worked with victims of sex abuse and tried help in their healing. I'm called to stand up for victims and that's what I'm doing today."
The verdict and possibly sentencing will come down sometime around 2:30 in the PM.
Check today's statement from SNAP from STL Director Barbra Dorris that provides an insight into the group's view of today's proceedings . . .
There's a reason Bishop Finn's Trial is happening on 24 hours notice, with few or no witnesses, before a judge, and on the day when President Obama speaks.
It's the same reason that hundreds of thousands of children across the globe have been sexually assaulted by Catholic priests, nuns, seminarians, brothers and bishops.
The reason is church officials continuing obsession with protecting their reputations above all else.
For months, Bishop Finn has been masterful with public relations -revamping policies, hiring staff, shuffling titles and pledging reform.
He's made another masterful public relations stroke today, making this proceeding shorter and quicker and more likely to prevent exposing just how complicit he and perhaps a dozen or more top Catholic officials are in the crime of Fr. Shawn Ratigan.
But the most savvy public relations maneuvers can't change one tragic fact: Catholic families and their daughters are deeply wounded because Bishop Finn and other key church employees acted recklessly, callously, deceitfully and selfishly . . .
Here's another statement from SNAP and victims of sex abuse who do not want sentencing today in the event of a guilty verdict . . .
SNAP urges no sentencing for bishop today
Victims write to the judge and the prosecutor
"A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is urging a Kansas City judge and prosecutor to delay any sentencing of embattled Bishop Robert Finn today, should he plead guilty or be found guilty of concealing child sex crimes."
A copy of the letter, sent this morning by fax and e mail, is below:
Dear Judge John M. Torrence:
Dear Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker:
We respectfully urge that Bishop Robert Finn not be sentenced today. Essentially he is guilty of a crime involving secrecy. He ignored and refused to listen to people who should have been listened to. It would be a shame if his case was resolved in a way that also involved secrecy and the ignoring of people who should have been listened to.
Bishop Finn wants this over as soon as possible with the least amount of public scrutiny and public input. While sentencing the Bishop today serves his interests, it does not serve the public's interest. Nor does it help bring justice, healing and prevention.
Normally, weeks transpire between a guilty finding or plea and a criminal's sentencing. That's what should happen here. Bishop Finn should receive no special consideration or privileges. Doing so would only undermine public trust and faith in our justice system.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, have been hurt by Bishop Finn’s wrongdoing. Victims include families hurt by Fr Ratigan, other clergy sex abuse victims, and devout but betrayed Catholics. As victims of Bishop Finn’s crimes they deserve a chance to be heard before the bishop's sentence is determined.
Fast-tracking his trial is bad enough. Fast-tracking his sentence is even worse. The justice system should not be abused for the convenience or protection of a powerful wrongdoer.
One reason child sex abuse victims stay silent is because they have seen predators and their allies get preferential treatment by authority figures. Many victims are hopeless and feel if they speak up, somehow, wrongdoers will still escape punishment, get privileges and future crimes will not be deterred. Please do not exacerbate the hopelessness many victims feel. Please do not show such favor to Finn and thereby rub even more salt into the already deep and still-fresh wounds of those he has hurt. Please give them the opportunity, another crime victims have, to express their views, in court, after his plea, at a later date before sentencing is determined.
Thank you for your consideration.
SNAP Outreach Director