MO - Top aide to Bishop Finn moves; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Monday, Oct. 21, 2013
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Msgr. Brad Offutt is no longer the vicar general of the Kansas City Catholic diocese, the only diocese in the world headed by a bishop who was convicted of endangering kids by hiding evidence. We are glad Offutt is no longer in the diocesan headquarters but don’t believe it will improve the reckless, secretive and deceitful way Bishop Robert Finn and his top aides continue to deal with clergy sex crimes and cover ups.
After hundreds of child porn pictures were found on his computer, Fr. Shawn Ratigan was ordered to stay away from kids and computers. According to the diocese’s own internal report, Offutt knew Fr. Ratigan was disobeying this order. (The same report noted that “there was no supervision given to Ratigan to ensure those instructions were followed.”)
Instead of calling police or pushing hard for decisive action, Offutt wrote Finn "Something needs to be done to limit Diocesan liability and protect children."
But Fr. Ratigan, the report says, heard confessions from minors April 11 and "grew bolder" by attending a high school track meet May 7 and accessing the guest computers at the Vincentian home.
And Offutt apparently did nothing.
Even now, years later, Offutt hasn’t spoken publicly for his irresponsible silence and refusal to call police about known or suspected child sex crimes.
For years, Offutt has been a loyal underling to Bishop Finn, who refuses to post on the diocesan website the identities of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics (like 30 other dioceses do) and take any meaningful step to really protect children.
Again, we are glad Offutt is no longer in the chancery. He shouldn’t be leaving voluntarily, though. He should have been booted out.
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.
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.