On Thursday, Reuters's Carey Gillam underlined that the "embattled" Catholic bishop of Kansas City, Missouri is under "scrutiny," as she covered a former church employee's lawsuit against his diocese. The litigant, Colleen Simon, asserts that "she was wrongfully fired from her salaried position as a pastoral associate after her marriage to another woman was mentioned in a local newspaper."
Gilliam spotlighted how Simon filed her suit less than a year after an arbitrator ordered Bishop Robert Finn and his diocese to pay $1.1 million to the victims of a priest who sexually abused children:
The lawsuit by Simon comes just a few months after Finn and the diocese settled litigation filed by parents of children who were victimized by Father Shawn Ratigan.
Ratigan was sentenced to 50 years in prison last year for taking sexually explicit photos of several young girls.
Five paragraphs into her article, "Gay, married church worker sued Missouri Catholic diocese for firing," the correspondent pointed out that the Catholic bishop was "convicted in 2012 of failing to alert authorities to child pornography found on the church computer of a popular priest. Finn was sentenced to two years probation and critics have called for his ouster."
Gilliam continued by outlining Simon's claims about her brief employment and subsequent termination:
Simon went to work for the diocese in July 2013 for a $35,000 annual salary and health benefits, which she said were crucial as she has suffered from cancer and needs ongoing medical monitoring.
Simon is the mother of two sons and was legally married in Iowa in May 2012 to a female pastor at a Kansas City Lutheran church.
Simon said she told diocese officials of her same-sex marriage before they hired her and was assured it was not an issue. But on May 14 she was fired and was told it was because of a local newspaper article that mentioned both her food pantry work and her same-sex marriage, the lawsuit states.
The Reuters journalist did include two quotes from the diocese statement on the lawsuit, but quickly followed with her mention of the Father Ratigan settlement:
The diocese issued a statement defending its "freedom to practice our faith and uphold the integrity of our mission."
"As a Church we have the right to live and operate according to our faith and Church teachings," the diocese said.