Grand jury probing Kansas City diocese on handling of abuse case?
August 25, 2011
A grand jury in Missouri is looking into the case of Father Shawn Ratigan, the priest whose indictment on child-pornography charges has sparked criticism of the Kansas City diocese.
According to one unconfirmed report, Bishop Finn has been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury.
Since Father Ratigan has already been indicted by a separate federal grand jury, the focus of the state grand jury investigation could be the response of diocesan officials to earlier indications of Ratigan’s misconduct. Bishop Finn has admitted that he received some complaints about the priest’s behavior last May, and in December a technician found images of unclothed children on Ratigan’s computer. The diocese did not officially notify police until May of this year, when Church officials learned that Ratigan was not following orders to stay away from children.
Bishop Finn has apologized for his handling of the case, and conceded that he should have promptly notified both police and his diocesan review board of the earlier evidence of Father Ratigan’s misconduct. The bishop has appointed a former prosecutor to investigate diocesan handling of this and other abuse cases.
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