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Kansas City priest in landmark case pleads guilty to federal charges

Catholic World News - August 02, 2012

The Kansas City priest at the center of a sex-abuse scandal has pleaded guilty to child-pornography charges in federal court.

Father Shawn Ratigan pleaded guilty on 5 counts of child pornography, each of which could bring a maximum prison sentence of 30 years. He still faces felony charges in a state court, and has been named as defendant in 4 lawsuits.

The Ratigan case is the basis for criminal charges against Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City. Prosecutors charge that the bishop should have reported Father Ratigan to authorities in December 2010, when the diocese received the first indications that the priest had sexual images of children on his computer. Instead Bishop Finn ordered Father Ratigan not to have contact with children. In May 2011, when it became clear that the priest was not following that order, the diocese reported him to law-enforcement officials. Bishop Finn is the first American bishop to face criminal charges for failing to report evidence of sexual abuse of children.

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