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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
An arbitrator has ordered the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese to pay an additional $1.1 million to dozens of victims of clergy sex crimes because the diocese failed to meet its promises for handling abuse cases.
The diocese is facing the penalty for not doing more to stop now-defrocked priest Shawn Ratigan from taking pornographic pictures of young parishioners after the diocese had pledged more than five years ago to prevent future abuse cases.
The diocese and Bishop Robert Finn, who has previously admitted in a criminal court that he failed to report child abuse by Ratigan to state authorities, are seeking to have the arbitrator's order nullified. The document was unsealed in late June and KCTV5 learned about it on Tuesday.
"As best we can tell, there's never been a case like this in which victims have successfully held a bishop responsible in court for breaking the promises he made during a settlement," said Barbara Dorris, outreach director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Dorris said the amount of the award is significant because it will deter more Catholic officials from breaking the promises they make to victims.
In 2008, 47 victims settled child sex abuse and cover up lawsuits against Finn and his diocese.
As part of the deal, they insisted that Finn commit to 19 "non-economic" child safety measures.
In October 2011, 44 of those victims formally charged that Finn broke many of those child safety measures by not reporting knowledge of child sex crimes promptly to authorities. The allegations involved that Finn and the diocese protected Ratigan and a second priest, Father James Tierney, according to SNAP.
KCTV5 is gathering more information. Refresh this page for updates.
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