Catholic Priest and Pastor Sentenced to 50 Years for Child Pornography
By Dan Verbeck And Steve Bell
September 12, 2013
|A judge on Thursday sentenced Father Shawn Ratigan to 50 years in federal prison
Shawn Ratigan, a 47-year-old Catholic priest convicted of making child pornography, was sentenced to 50 years by a Kansas City federal judge Thursday afternoon.
Judge Gary Fenner labeled Ratigan a pedophile in
Minutes before, Ratigan choked back emotion as he told the judge, in his words, "Fifteen years is a lot of time, but fifty [years], come on."
Parents of a two-year-old girl, photographed by Ratigan - the mother said the child considered the priest her "best friend" - told how they never want their child to see him again.
The child will be 52 if and when Ratigan emerges from prison.
Ratigan had served as church pastor and associate pastor in parishes around western Missouri. Some churches became impromptu studios for his lewd photography of girls as young as two years old.
The mother of the child identified only as Jane Doe Number Two told the court the priest was family confessor and confidant.
When the child learned Ratigan had done something wrong, the mother said the youngster asked,”did he hurt anyone else?”
Ratigan told Judge Gary Fenner that he “couldn’t help it.”
Attorney Rebecca Randles represented some of the parents and said after sentencing, "It’s an important piece of justice that clients be able to express themselves to the judge so he has an understanding of the depth of the pain that’s felt by these people when their children are so grossly violated. This is a violating not only of the child. It’s a violation of the family.”
Father Ratigan was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
He asked to serve it in Tuscon, Arizona.
Ratigan's case had wider repercussions in the Catholic community of western Missouri.
When pornographic and inappropriate images were found on his computer, Bishop Robert Finn did not report it to authorities for months. Finn was later to become the first American bishop convicted in a child sexual abuse case.
Finn is serving two years on probation for failing to report a pedophile cleric, a misdemeanor.