Law enforcement investigations resulted in the May 19 arrest of the priest. He now faces multiple local and federal charges of possessing, producing and attempting to produce child pornography.
The agreement between Bishop Finn and county prosecutors prompted criticism from Peter Isely, a national board member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
“Finn has now done here what bishops have almost always done — make any promises, payment or plea deal to avoid having to face tough questions in open court about their disgraceful and irresponsible deception,” Isely told the Kansas City Star.
However, Quinlan thought such a response was overstated.
“Basically there was a delay of what, a few months? For people like SNAP and some of these people to run around saying that this is a cover-up akin to what went on in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, it’s just not at all fair.
“The diocese is the one who turned the guy in in the end. It’s not like they got caught hiding something, they turned him in. That doesn’t seem to ever get mentioned.”
Quinlan said he is a Catholic who has practiced law for over 25 years. He knows Bishop Finn “only by reputation” as “a holy priest and a good bishop, a conscientious bishop.”
He felt some of the media reports on the case were a “hatchet-job.”
The Kansas City Star’s latest reporting, he contended, wrongly made it appear “less like the prosecutor is trying to avoid litigation, and more like the bishop is. They both are.”
Quinlan said he is convinced that the Jackson County case against the bishop is a misuse of the statute.
“Catholics need to stand up and push back on some of this. I am one of the first Catholics to fault the bishops in the past for what they did, so this is not just a matter of defending a bishop no matter what. This is just not a comparable situation, and I think that there are political forces here.”
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While Bishop Finn has taken responsibility for the actions of the diocese, prosecuting him on a charge that could result in a year in prison is “just going too far.”
“It’s not supported by the facts,” Quinlan said.