National News

Former Priest Sentenced in Porn Case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CNS) – A former Kansas City pastor was sentenced Sept. 12 to 50 years in federal prison on child pornography charges.

In August, 2012, Father Shawn Ratigan pleaded guilty to five counts of producing or attempting to produce child pornography. He received 10 years for each count and will serve his time in the Clay County Detention Center.

Plead Guilty Last Year

After the priest entered his guilty plea last year, the diocese filed a petition with the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that he be laicized.

In a statement about the priest’s sentencing, Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph said: “To victims of abuse, their families and the community at large, I renew my heartfelt apology and firm pledge to make our Catholic institutions second to none in the protection of children and the vulnerable.”

“Much has already been done to strengthen a culture of protection in the local church since the arrest” of Father Ratigan in May, 2011, the bishop said in a Sept. 12 statement.

He outlined several steps the diocese has taken to address clergy sexual abuse, among them his appointment of former Jackson County Assistant Prosecutor Jenifer Valenti “to independently receive and investigate any and all suspicion of abuse, grooming behavior and boundary violations in our Catholic institutions.”

“Under her direction, every single reported suspicion of abuse is immediately forwarded to law enforcement. All reported suspicion of abuse against minors is additionally referred to the Missouri Children’s Division,” Bishop Finn said.

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