Church Accused of Covering Up Child Porn

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) – A girl and her parents claim the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and a bishop covered up a pedophile priest and failed to report his manufacture and possession of child pornography for nearly half a year, allowing the abuses to continue until last month.




     Jane Doe 173 and her parents sued the allegedly abusive priest, Shawn Ratigan, the Diocese and Bishop Robert Finn, in Federal Court.
     Ratigan was arrested and charged with three counts of possessing child pornography in May this year, according to the complaint. But the Doe family says his abuses began long before.
     Doe 173, who is still a minor, says Ratigan began sexually abusing her in 2006.
     “While the minor plaintiff Jane Doe 173 was engaged in sexually explicit conduct, defendant Ratigan created visual depictions and/or photographs of the sexually explicit conduct,” the complaint states. “Said photographs and images constitute child pornography.
     “Upon information and belief, defendant Ratigan uploaded the sexually explicit images to his computer and defendant Ratigan distributed the sexually explicit images of the minor plaintiff over the Internet.”
     The Does say an employee “reported to the Diocese that she had observed suspicious behavior involving defendant Ratigan and a 4-year-old girl” in 2006. But “In response, the Diocese and defendant Bishop Finn concealed the report in order to protect defendants Ratigan, Bishop Finn and Diocese from scandal.”
     The Does say that in May 2010, “the principal at St. Patrick School in Kansas City, Mo., reported to the Diocese numerous incidents where defendant Ratigan had been inappropriate with children at school.”
     But again, the Does say, “In response, the Diocese and defendant Bishop Finn concealed the report in order to protect defendants Ratigan, Bishop Finn and Diocese from scandal.”
     Then in December 2010, “the Diocese discovered child pornography of plaintiff Jane Doe 173, as well as of other girls, on a computer owned by defendant Ratigan.” But, the complaint continues, “Instead of reporting this to law enforcement, the Diocese made digital and/or physical copies of the child pornography of plaintiff Jane Doe 173, as well as a number of other girls found on defendant Ratigan’s computer.
     “The Diocese and defendant Bishop Finn then arranged for the computer to be destroyed and/or manipulated the family of defendant Ratigan into destroying the computer that contained the child pornography of plaintiff Jane Doe 173, as well as a number of other girls.
     “The Diocese and defendant Bishop Finn possessed the child pornography of plaintiff Jane Doe 173, as well as a number of other girls, for approximately six months before contacting law enforcement in order to conceal the images and photographs from law enforcement in order to protect the Diocese, defendants Ratigan and Bishop Finn from scandal.”
     Finally, in May this year, “the child pornography of plaintiff Jane Doe 173 as well as a number of other girls was turned over to law enforcement and defendant Ratigan was arrested on three counts of possessing child pornography.”
     The Does say police, with a warrant, found child pornography of Jane Doe 173 and other girls on a Diocese-owned computer in St. Mary Parish in St. Joseph, and on compact discs they found while serving a search warrant “on family members of defendant Ratigan.”
     “Defendants Diocese and Bishop Finn have separate liability for acts of defendant Ratigan because defendants Diocese and Bishop Finn aided and abetted defendant Ratigan in the sexual abuse and battery of the minor plaintiff Jane Doe 173 by actively participating in the sexual abuse and battery by protecting defendant Ratigan from detection and by concealing previous acts of sexual abuse and/or battery by defendant Ratigan from law enforcement, parishioners, students and other children who would necessarily come into contact with defendant Ratigan,” the complaint states
     The Does seek damages for emotional distress, humiliation, loss of self-esteem and disgrace and costs of therapy and counseling. They are represented by Rebecca Randles with Randles, Mata & Brown.

%d bloggers like this: