For immediate release: Thursday, Sept. 12, 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)
Shawn Ratigan should be locked up for as long as possible. He shows no signs of remorse or rehabilitation. Ample evidence suggests that he would commit more child sex crimes if ever given the chance to be around kids.
We hope this judge will keep Ratigan behind bars as long as he can. And we hope others who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups in Kansas City will dig deep and find courage. If they do, it’s crucial that they call independent sources for help – like police, prosecutors, therapist or support groups – not complicit Catholic officials. That’s how future heinous crimes like this will be prevented and how innocent kids will be spared devastating harm.
No matter what sentence Ratigan gets, we hope every single family that has been so severely hurt by his crimes will keep working hard to recover from this horrific trauma, most of which could clearly have been prevented if just one of a dozen top KC church officials had been decent and caring enough to call 911 years ago.
Ratigan can only be sentenced for the crimes he committed. The judge can't be influenced by the on-going callousness, recklessness and deceit by Ratigan's ex-employers and colleagues in the Catholic hierarchy.
Still, it's worth noting that Missouri church officials have clearly not learned from the Ratigan scandal. They are continuing to keep silent or be deceptive about clergy sex cases, even when allegations are deemed credible and settlements are paid. Here are three very recent examples:
--Last week, newly-disclosed church abuse records showed that a priest from KC's Assumption parish who attended St. John's seminary in Kansas City and worked in nine Missouri church assignments was a child molester. He is Fr. John V. "Jack" Farris. A settlement was paid to one of his victims.
--The same church documents show that another predator, Fr. Jose Mendez, spent time at St. Augustine's Monastery in Kansas City, Kansas. In addition to assaulting kids, Mendez admitted fathering a child. A settlement was paid to one of his victims.
--Weeks ago, St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson was accused in a civil lawsuit, of evidence tampering in a child sex abuse case just last summer.
Catholic officials should, of course, publicly
--announce these cases,
--aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered these clerics’ crimes, and
--post the names and files of each of these predators on the diocesan and parish websites, so that more victims, witnesses and whistleblowers might come forward, the criminals will be prosecuted and jailed, and kids will be safer and victims will get help, and so that anyone who committed or concealed child sex crimes might be prosecuted.)
But they haven’t and they won’t. They’ll continue to do the absolute bare minimum, and only then when forced to do so be external pressure. And there will continue to be more Fr. Ratigans and more devastated children, families and parishes.
Let’s hope the judge today does what virtually every single member of the Catholic hierarchy refuses to do: protect kids by doing everything possible to keep known predators away from vulnerable kids.
(See how the Fr. Joseph Jiang case in St. Louis is like the Fr. Shawn Ratigan case in Kansas City: http://theworthyadversary.com/2164-2164)