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American bishop resigns over failure to report sex abuse: Vatican

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of American Bishop Robert Finn who in 2012 was convicted for failing to report suspected child abuse by one of the priests under his supervision, the Vatican said.

The 62-year-old bishop stayed on as the head of the Catholic diocese in Kansas City, Missouri after he pleaded guilty to failing to tell police in 2010 that one of his priests was sexually abusing a minor.

Finn was sentenced to two years under probation and the Vatican put him under investigation in September last year.

Victims groups in the United States have been calling for him to step down for some time now and Boston’s cardinal Sean O’Malley had also called on the papacy to take action.

It is likely that the Holy See had asked for Finn’s resignation given Pope Francis’ “zero tolerance” stance to the culture of cover up within the Church.

The pontiff has personally taken up the cases of abuse victims in Spain and Italy recently in an attempt to confront a scandal that has rocked Roman Catholicism.

US bishops have conducted annual studies of sexual abuse allegations ever since the paedophile priests scandal first hit the spotlight in 2002. In the fallout, senior church officials acknowledged they had protected priests responsible for the sexual abuse of children.

The report said there were 657 allegations of underage sexual abuse by priests, of which 130 have been recognised and that 243 are still under investigation and the rest unproven. Most allegations relate to events that took place years earlier. – AFP

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