Ex-Priest Indicted in Clay County on Child Porn Charges

By Jason M. Vaughn
Fox 4
November 15, 2011

LIBERTY, Mo. A Clay County grand jury has indicted former Catholic priest Shawn F. Ratigan for possession of child pornography, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Ratigan, 46, faces three felony counts of possessing child pornography. He is currently in federal custody on similiar charges, with bond set at $250,000.

Tuesday's announcement also includes a compliance agreement between Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese Bishop Robert W. Finn and the Clay County Prosecuting Attorney's office calling for an open dialogue between the church and prosecutors regarding abuse of minors in Clay County Catholic institutions.

Finn had faced misdemeanor charges alleging that he did not tell police about the child pornography found on Ratigan's computer after he found out about it.

"I am grateful for this opportunity to resolve this matter and to further strengthen our diocesan commitment to the protection of children," said Finn in a statement. "I stand ready to do all within my power not only to satisfy this agreement but also to ensure the welfare and safety of all children under our care."

In a statement, Peter Isely of SNAP, or the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said that he was disappointed by the announcement.

"We're also disappointed because Finn has now done here what bishops have almost always done make any promises, payment or plea deal to avoid having to face tough questions in open court about their disgraceful and irresponsible deception," said Isely in the statement.

"So we're disappointed that a chance to send a strong message about kids safety and expose wrong doing and deter cover ups is being squandered," said Isely.

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