50 Years for Ratigan

By Kevin O'Brien
Waiting for Godot to Leave
September 16, 2013

Fr. Shawn Ratigan

Fr. Shawn Ratigan has been sentenced to 50 years in Federal prison without the possibility of parole for molesting and taking explicit photographs of girls as young as age 2.

You can read about it here - but the Kansas City Star goes into some detail about the nature of the crimes, and it's not easy to stomach.

At the time the story broke, when it was revealed that Ratigan's bishop, Robert Finn, mishandled the case and showed a flagrant disregard for the victims and their families, Bill Donohue of the Catholic Defense League downplayed Ratigan's crimes and asserted that no child pornography was involved.  The priest was just a shutter bug who liked to take photos of young girls and their crotches, or so Donohue implied.

In the perfect world, Bill Donohue would read the Star's description of the photos Ratigan took and the physical contact he had with his helpless victims and would issue a heart-felt apology for the shameful way he spun the story with lies and half-truths, not to "defend" the Catholic Church, but merely as a knee-jerk way of running interference for Bishop Finn and his criminal priest.  In fact, Donohue didn't have to wait for the sentencing - much of what Ratigan did was described in detail in a report paid for by the diocese of Kansas City, a report Donohue ignored in order to spin his web of unrighteous indignation.

This dreadful habit of circling the wagons and of exercising what right-wing Catholics have shown to be their "anti-charism of discernment" when one of their own is criticized is one of the worst things about this whole horrible affair.  I even had people from Kansas City threatening me with physical violence because of my criticism of Bishop Finn.

Meanwhile, Fr. Ratigan was enabled and his crimes were covered up, and many innocent children suffered and will be suffering for years to come.

Men like Bishop Finn and Bill Donohue need to man up and look the families of these victims in the face and apologize.  Instead, Donohue will act as if nothing has happened and Finn will continue to assure us that all is well and the Church has the best interests of the victims at heart.  Which is clearly the biggest untruth in this whole dreadful case.


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