Thursday, June 9, 2011

Diocesan Changes

Bishop Finn announced today a five point plan to deal with the sexual scandals that have recently plagued the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.   They are

  1. Immediate appointment of Todd Graves, former U.S. Attorney (and from my hometown), to conduct an independent investigation of events, policies and procedures.
  2. Appointment of an independent public liaison and ombudsman to field and investigate any reports of suspicious or inappropriate behavior.
  3. Reaffirmation of current diocesan policy and immediate commencement of an independent review of the polices for Ethical Codes of Conduct and Sexual Misconduct.
  4. An in-depth review of diocesan personnel training regarding the Ethical Codes of Conduct and the policy on Sexual Misconduct.
  5. Continued cooperation with local law enforcement.
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     I think these are good places to start.    Having outside and independent investigators is a huge step in being transparent and ensuring that situations are not swept under the rug.   That's why diocesan officials should have given the investigation to the Shawn Ratigan case to local law enforcement in the first place.   Then all of the blame is off of your shoulders and on someone else.   I also think having an outside and independent person doing the investigation means more honesty.  Let's face it, it's difficult to be totally honest with ourselves sometimes, especially when being critical.  Sometimes it is best to have someone look at us and be  frank.

      I am glad Bishop Finn is making these changes and is one reason that I was not calling for his immediate removal or to give him a vote of no confidence.   If there are problems in the diocese then I think someone who has been embarrassed by the mistakes and had his feet held to the flames is more likely to make those changes than someone who comes in from the outside.  This has to be just the first step in the changes.  Bishop Finn must follow through and make sure these changes are truly implemented.
      I still stand by my belief in Saturday's post on Righteous Anger.  I hope by bringing in Mr. Graves a thorough investigation will be done into the mistakes made in the Rattigan case and by doing so the people who covered it up are located and fired and if need be criminally charged no matter how far up it goes.

      Bishop Finn will be remembered by this incident for good or for bad.  His legacy will be forever linked to Shawn Rattigan and how he handled that case.   He can be remembered as the bishop who failed the children he was supposed to protect or as someone who formed a model that other diocese can take the lead from.

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