Accused Priest, Kc Diocese Sued Again

August 11, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The alleged activities of a Kansas City Catholic priest at an Independence convent are at the center of the latest lawsuit filed against him and the Kansas City Catholic Diocese.

KMBC's Micheal Mahoney reported that the lawsuit accuses the Rev. Shawn Ratigan of continuing to abuse young girls while at the Sisters of St. Francis Convent.

The lawsuit claims that Ratigan was placed there by the diocese after a suicide attempt at his previous church, St. Patrick's in Kansas City North.

It accuses Ratigan of taking "sexually explicit photographs" of one of the children present on an Easter egg hunt at the convent in April this year. A similar incident is mentioned in a 13-count child pornography federal indictment against Ratigan that came out earlier this week.

The lawsuit claims that there was no warning about Ratigan's past troubles to parents, parishioners or others, and it claims that as part of the sisters' mission, the convent "often host young girls for retreats, dinners and other events."

The lawsuit said Ratigan had little to do at the convent and he spent time on the guest computer at the convent's Vincentian House. He also spent weekends away from the house, "often staying with Catholic parishioners who had young children," and no knowledge of the priest's past, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also said the diocese and Bishop Robert Finn did not follow the procedures in a previous priest sex abuse settlement to inform state authorities of allegations of sexual misconduct by priests. At the time of Ratigan's stay at the convent, Ratigan's computer had already been seized and examined by church investigators in December of 2010.

The diocese has said in the past that Ratigan ignored its warnings to stay away from children. Ratigan remains in jail in Clay County. He is facing three state charges of possessing child pornography and a 13-count federal indictment on similar charges.

The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph released the following statement:

"Through media reports, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has learned that the Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is promoting the filing of a civil suit in Jackson County Circuit Court on behalf of a child victim of Shawn Ratigan.

"While SNAP’s announcement includes a number of factual inaccuracies, the diocese will not otherwise comment on their allegations.

"Most importantly, the diocese would like to directly say to the parents of this child, “Our utmost concerns are for you, your daughter, and the anguish of your family. While we do not know your names or the nature of your relationship with Shawn Ratigan, we condemn the destructive behaviors attributed to him.”

"U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips stated this week that people who exploit children victimize the entire community. The diocese affirms that statement."


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