Accused Priest under Suicide Watch

May 20, 2011

[with video]

LIBERTY, Mo. -- A Catholic priest charged with possessing pornographic pictures of young girls remains in jail on suicide watch.

The Rev. Shawn Ratigan is being held in the Clay County Jail. He is accused of taking pornographic pictures of young girls in and around the parishes where he has been assigned. Most recently, Ratigan served at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in the Northland.

According to court documents, Ratigan's computer was found to the pornographic pictures in December. KMBC's Peggy Breit reported that the priest tried to take his own life on Dec. 17.

That is one reason why Ratigan remains in the booking-holding area of the jail.

"Anybody that's brought in on a high-profile case and or who might be suicidal, we keep them in this area so that we can keep an eye on them, check on their welfare and make sure that nothing happens to them," said Lt. Shauna Craven of the Clay County Sheriff's Department.

Only the bare essentials are in the cell. Nothing is issued with which inmates can harm themselves. Suicidal prisoners are checked every 15 minutes.


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