Catholic diocese to pay $1.35M for priest’s child porn collection

A judge has approved a $1.35 million settlement in a civil lawsuit involving a Kansas City priest convicted of producing child pornography.

Jackson County Circuit Judge Kenneth Garrett III approved the settlement in the lawsuit filed in 2011 by a minor girl and her parents against the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese, the Rev. Shawn Ratigan and Bishop Robert Finn. The approval was entered in the court record last week.

The diocese reached the agreement with the plaintiffs on Oct. 2, days before the case was to go to trial. The settlement was the diocese’s third in five months involving allegations of sexual abuse by a priest and brings to more than $4 million the amount it has paid in those cases…

The pornography scandal involving Ratigan emerged in December 2010 after a computer technician discovered hundreds of lewd photos of young girls on the priest’s laptop. A federal grand jury indicted Ratigan on 13 counts of production, attempted production and possession of child pornography involving five girls ranging in age from 2 to 9.

Ratigan pleaded guilty to five charges and was sentenced last month to 50 years in prison. He also pleaded guilty in October in Clay County Circuit Court to three counts of possessing child pornography and was sentenced to seven years on each charge.

The civil suit settled last month alleged that Ratigan engaged a 9-year-old girl in sexually explicit conduct and that Finn allowed Ratigan continued access to children after learning of the images found on the priest’s computer.

It feels like these charges have been in the wild for most of my life. In truth, nothing was done by the Roman Catholic Church or local police and judicial systems until lawsuits began to be filed, victims gathered together in a political struggle for recognition.

That says as much about our political establishment protecting an “important” group of their own peers – as it says about the corruption of the administration of this church.

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