New Info Uncovered about Priest Accused in Child Porn Case

May 20, 2011

New information has been uncovered by KCTV5 about the priest who has been charged with taking pornographic pictures of local children.

The Catholic diocese has filled in some of the gaps from the time court documents said disturbing child pornography images were found on Rev. Shawn Ratigan's computer in December and when the diocese contacted police last week.

Angry St. Patrick's parishioners in Clay County, such as Eugene Long, said the diocese has been less than forthcoming about the charges against Ratigan.

"They were covering up, in December" he said. "We should have been told."

Court documents stated that everything started in December. The diocese offered a timeline and an explanation as to why the church waited five months to tell police about the pictures of young girls found on Ratigan's computer.

In December 2010, the church discovered the images. Bishop Robert Finn wrote, "We were told, while very troubling, the photographs did not constitute child pornography." That was after the diocese said it consulted a Kansas City police officer and legal counsel regarding one of the more disturbing images.

Police said, on Dec. 17, 2010, Ratigan attempted suicide. The diocese sent him away for psychiatric evaluation. In March, Ratigin moved to Sisters of St. Francis, a convent where he served as chaplain.

By late March, Finn said Ratigan "attended a child's birthday party at the invitation of the child's parents," and it was then the diocese took further action after Ratigan violated the terms of his stay at St. Francis.

On May 12, the diocese and police said more pictures were found. Ratigan was arrested on Wednesday.

Despite court documents that said the church discovered multiple images of girls, taken up their skirts, a Kansas City, Mo., police spokesman said the diocese only described one image in December.

Long, a member of St. Patrick's since the 1950s, said he's embarrassed for his church and holy institution.

"I'm sick and tired of pompous, imperialistic, self-centered people letting things happen to little boys, now this one's been molesting little girls," he said.

KCTV5 has asked several times for interviews with leaders of the diocese, but they have been turned down. Finn released a statement late Friday afternoon.

Ratigan is expected to be arraigned on Monday.


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