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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Clergy sex victims want police captain investigated

He reportedly told Bishop Finn that child photo wasn’t porn

And group is both “alarmed” & “excited” about new court ruling

It essentially lets diocese off the hook if priest molests kids at private home

But it also lets victim sue diocese ove recently suspended cleric for church “fraud”

After a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will try to hand deliver a letter to KC’s police chief seeking an investigation into the actions of a city police officer who allegedly told Catholic officials that a priest’s photo of a young girl was not child pornography.

They will also disclose and discuss an important ruling by a KC judge on Friday which
---lets a child sex abuse case against a recently suspended child molesting KC cleric proceed, but
---lets church officials ‘off the hook,’ in a bizarre move, when a pedophile priest molests a child off church property

TODAY, Monday, July 18 at 2:00 PM

Outside the KC police department headquarters at 1125 Locust St. (corner of 12th, across from City Hall) Kansas City, MO

Two-four clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (

On Friday, a KC judge ruled that a civil lawsuit can move ahead against a recently suspended priest and Kansas City’s bishop, on at least five different counts (fraud, abuse, battery, failure to supervise children, and fraudulent misrepresentation). But in what SNAP considers an “alarming move,” for the first time in the KC area, however, a judge is letting church officials evade legal responsibility for a child molesting cleric if he abuses kids on private property, not church property.

The case involved Fr. Michael Tierney who was sued for abuse last October and named in a second abuse suit this spring but only suspended from ministry last month. This new ruling came in a case in which he allegedly abused a 13 yr old boy in 1971. Those allegations were first brought to the diocese in 2008. The new five page order was handed down by Judge Ann Mesle.

SNAP vehemently opposes Catholic officials trying to exploit this “off premises” loophole in child sex cases.

SNAP is also writing KC Police Chief James Corwin seeking an investigation into Capt. Richard Smith. According to an article last month in the KC Star, a KC Catholic official called Smith in December and described one of Fr. Shawn Ratigan’s thousands of photos of young girls to him. Smith reportedly told church officials that the picture wasn’t pornography. On that basis, Finn claims he decided to not turn over more photos to detectives.

Smith is a member of Finn’s hand-picked sex abuse panel and almost certainly, SNAP believes, advised Finn and other top church officials on other cases involving clergy sex crimes and misdeeds. The head of that board, Jim Caccamo (816-474-4240) claims that "the evidence presented to (Smith) was verbal and minimal.” But Caccamo wasn’t there when the alleged call to Smith happened, so SNAP questions his depiction.

SNAP wants the police department’s Internal Affairs Division to investigate whether Smith acted properly, in the Ratigan case and other cases, and whether it’s appropriate to have an officer on a church abuse board at all.

Police spokesman Capt. Steve Young has not yet publicly discussed Smith’s conduct.

KC Attorney Rebecca Randles (816 931 9901, 816 510 2704 cell, [email protected]) represents Tierney’s victims. Jonathan Haden (816 292 2001) and Brian Madden (816 531-2372) represent the diocese and Tierney. Ratigan’s lawyer is P.J. O'Connor (816 701 1100, [email protected]).

David Clohessy, SNAP Executive Director 314 566 9790, [email protected], Mike Hunter, SNAP Kansas City Director 913-634-6490, Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director 314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, [email protected], Dave Biersmith, KC VOTF(Voice of the Faithful), 816 872 8715)

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests