Case against priest Shawn Ratigan gets grand jury scrutiny
By MARK MORRIS and JUDY L. THOMAS
The Kansas City Star
A local grand jury is poised to explore the case of a Roman Catholic priest who already is facing child pornography charges in state and federal courts, The Star has learned.
Grand jurors in Jackson County soon will hear evidence related to the Rev. Shawn Ratigan case, independent sources have told the newspaper.
The sources asked that their names not be used because of their close relationships to numerous parties affiliated with the case.
The topic and target of the grand jury probe are unclear. However, a similar panel in U.S. District Court has appeared to focus on Ratigan’s conduct. The Star’s sources suggested that authorities now are concerned with how the Catholic hierarchy handled Ratigan’s alleged misdeeds.
A spokesman for the Jackson County prosecutor’s office declined to confirm or deny the existence of a grand jury exploring the Ratigan case.
Diocesan spokeswoman Rebecca Summers declined to comment on a television report that Bishop Robert Finn, who leads the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, had been subpoenaed. She also would not comment on the emergence of a new grand jury investigation.
“We’ve been cooperating with law enforcement since May 12, when Monsignor (Robert) Murphy picked up the phone and telephoned the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department to discuss this with them,” Summers said. “We’ve been cooperating with them since then and have fully allowed ourselves to be interviewed and made ourselves available to the detectives.”
In May, Ratigan was charged with three counts of possession of child pornography in Clay County. Federal grand jurors later charged him with 13 counts of production, attempted production and possession of child porn.
In May 2010, the principal of a Catholic school had complained to diocesan officials about Ratigan’s purportedly inappropriate behavior around children. Other than counseling Ratigan to moderate his conduct, his church superiors took little substantial action.
In December, diocesan authorities found what prosecutors later alleged was child pornography on Ratigan’s computer. The church relieved him of his duties as pastor of a Northland church and assigned him to live at an Independence mission house, where he allegedly attempted to take pornographic photos of a young girl.
Finn has apologized for his handling of the case.
Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/08/24/3096974/church-abuse-case-gets-grand-jury.html#ixzz1W397nFKD
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.