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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Victims want outreach to kids who were with predator priest

They urge KC bishop & St. Joe Catholic school staff to write ex-students

Group wants Buchanan County prosecutor to launch grand jury probe

SNAP to Finn: “Guatemalan officials should be contacted about child porn cleric”

WHAT:
Holding signs and childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims will urge Catholic school and diocesan officials to
--write current and former Catholic school staff and students (especially from Bishop LeBlond High School in St. Joe) about a priest who faces child porn charges and took some St. Joe kids on trips to Guatemala,
--write officials in Guatemala about the predator and urge them to reach out to kids he may have victimized there and
--buy ads in secular newspapers throughout the diocese alerting citizens and Catholics to recent sexual abuse and misconduct allegations against six men who are or were part of the KC diocese.

They will also urge the Buchanan county prosecutor to open a grand jury investigation into top church officials who have ignored and concealed child sex crimes.

WHEN:
Wednesday, July 20, at 1:00 PM.

WHERE:
Outside Bishop LeBlond High School 3529 Frederick, St. Joseph, MO

WHO:
Two-three concerned KC Catholics and two-three child sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest (SNAPnetwork.org), including a St. Louis woman who is the organization's outreach director

WHY:
Victims of sex abuse are worried that others who were exploited by a predator priest may still be “suffering in shame, isolation and self-blame.”

They’re also asking Buchanan County prosecutor Dwight Scroggins to open a grand jury investigation into church and school officials who may have ignored or concealed child sex crimes by a KC priest who faces child porn charges, Fr. Shawn Ratigan.

At least twice, Ratigan, took LeBlond high school kids on trips to Guatemala. SNAP fears he may have exploited either some of the St. Joe kids or Guatemalan kids. The group wants Bishop Finn and local St. Joe Catholic school principals to write every current and former student and employee about Ratigan, urging them to contact police and prosecutors with any suspicions or information they may have about clergy sex crimes and cover ups.

Several weeks ago, SNAP found a 2007 article in the KC diocesan newspaper (The Catholic Key) showing that Ratigan went on Guatemalan trips with St. Joe students. http://catholickey.com/index.php3?gif=news.gif&mode=view&issue=20070817&article_id=4601

Ratigan was arrested in May on three felony counts of possessing child pornography. (http://www.nbcactionnews.com/dpp/news/region_missouri/priest-charged-with-possession-of-child-pornography)

It was later discovered that church officials had known about the photographs since December 2010 (http://www.examiner.net/news/x31867585/Bishop-explains-diocese-actions-in-Ratigan-arrest) and had been warned about Ratigan's behavior in May 2010. (http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/bishop-i-didnt-read-letter-warning-priests-behavior)

A recent civil lawsuit charges that Catholic officials were warned about Ratigan as far back as 2006.

Since Ratigan's arrest, four other clerics have been accused or removed for credible abuse allegations, including the diocesan second-in-command, Msgr. Robert Murphy. (http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/amid-abuse-controversy-kc-diocese-appoints-new-vicar-for-clergy/) They are Fr. Michael Tierney, Fr. Bede Parry, Fr. James Urbanic, and a seminarian who was studying for the KC diocese, Nicolas Pinkston.

Ratigan was also involved in the Boy Scouts (http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news5/2005_01_NCCS_Vocations_Committee_Ratigan_Scouting_Story.pdf)

SNAP is urging KC Diocese officials to reach out the Guatemalan government and tell them about the charges against Ratigan. The group is also urging KC’s bishop to buy ads in secular newspaper throughout the diocese in order to reach out to all of the communities where Ratigan worked, volunteered, or lived.

CONTACT:
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Outreach Director (314) 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com,
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Executive Director (314) 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com
Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP President and Founder (312) 399 4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
www.snapnetwork.org