MO - Statement regarding Fr. Ratigan

If Catholic officials had acted properly, this spring, Fr. Ratigan might have been in jail or would have been in a treatment center. In any case, at least one kid would have been spared being sexually exploited and victimized.

Instead, Catholic officials made sure Ratigan was someplace where he would NOT be effectively monitored and kids wouldn’t really be safe – at a church facility around nuns. Then, inexplicably, this lawsuit says that Catholic officials went one step further and recently gave this obviously sexually troubled man permission to be around kids.

How do we know this? Because of information, in this lawsuit, from Ratigan’s own family and other sources, including church employees.

Weeks ago, it was clear that KC Catholic officials endangered children. Now, because of the new criminal charges and this new civil lawsuit, it’s pretty clear that actual harm has been done to a child because

It was clear that KC Catholic officials, in recent months, didn’t adequately supervise Fr. Ratigan. Now, we believe, it’s pretty clear that, in recent months, KC Catholic officials actually gave Ratigan permission to be around kids. (And this was done even after the reported 2006 warning to church officials, the May 2010 warning to church officials, the December 2010 suicide note, and the December 2010 finding of hundreds of disturbing photos of kids).

It was clear that KC Catholic officials, just last year, didn’t act responsibly when parochial school staff expressed concerns about Fr. Ratigan’s inappropriate behavior around kids. Now, we believe, it’s pretty clear that in just the past few months, KC Catholic officials didn’t act responsibly when priests and nuns in Independence expressed concerns about Fr. Ratigan’s inappropriate behavior regarding travel and computer usage.

In both cases, the concerns and reports of lower level church employees were prudent and accurate. In both cases, the actions of higher level church employees were, at best, reckless and callous.

Let’s not forget, it takes only seconds for a child predator to shove his tongue down a girl’s throat, his hand down a boy’s pants, or his camera at a youngster’s private parts. And let’s not forget that while evidence points to Ratigan making child porn, he may well have committed other crimes as well. (Keep in mind that most abused kids aren’t able to disclose their suffering for decades.)

In the past few months, in addition to Fr. Ratigan, five other KC area clerics have been accused of or suspended for alleged sexual misconduct. They are Msgr. Robert Murphy, Fr. James Tierney, Fr. James Urbanic, Fr. Bede Parry and former seminarian Nicholas Pinkston. (All but Parry are still in the KC area. All but Parry and Pinkston were in active ministry when they were accused. Murphy still is.)

Murphy’s misdeeds involved a prospective seminarian who was technically an adult at the time of the offenses. Each of the others is accused of child sex crimes.

We hope that anyone who saw, suspected or suffered their misdeeds will come forward, call police, protect others and start healing.

* * * * *

Statement by Mike Hunter of Kansas City, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (913 634 6490, mhunter_mp@accessus.net, mhunter_mp@sbcglobal.net)

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