Statement of Bishop Robert Finn
Nov 15th, 2011
Concerning the Compliance Agreement with the Clay County Prosecutor
On November 15, 2011, I entered into a Compliance Agreement with Daniel Lee White, Prosecuting Attorney for Clay County Missouri. This agreement provides a structure for us to maintain an open dialogue about any and all issues of abuse of minors within Catholic parishes and institutions in Clay County. I am grateful for this opportunity to resolve this matter and to further strengthen our diocesan commitment to the protection of children.
Elements of the agreement provide for a close collaboration between the Bishop, the diocesan Ombudsman, and the Clay County prosecutor. The agreement specifically calls for informational sessions to introduce the ombudsman and Director of Child and Youth Protection to parishioners of Clay County parishes.
Before the work of the Clay County grand jury, I appointed an Ombudsman to receive and investigate any concern of suspicious or inappropriate behavior, with particular emphasis on the protection of children. Very soon, I will designate a Director of Child and Youth Protection to coordinate the work of the Safe Environment Coordinator, the Ombudsman and the Victims’ Advocate. The director will oversee our adult and youth safe environment training programs and will serve as a vital link with the independent work of the Ombudsman and Victims’ Advocate. These persons and offices will serve critical needs throughout the 27 counties that comprise the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph.
The children of our community must be our first priority. Each deserves no more and no less. I stand ready to do all within my power not only to satisfy this agreement but also to ensure the welfare and safety of all children under our care.