Bishop in Missouri Waited Months to Report Priest, Stirring Parishioners’ Rage

Were it up to me any person (priest, deacon or religious) who abuses their position of trust in a sexual manner such as that expressed here should, in my opinion, be given latae sententiae excommunications and (if applicable) suspended from the clerical state! It’s frustrating why the sacramental seal is in these cases of habitual abuse is maintained, I think it should be allowed to be broken with the permission of the local ordinary. :frowning:

Yet even more proof that the New York Times should not be considered a valid news source

+Flynn DID contact police the very next day after he found out about the pictures.

The police rep on the board charged with investigating such issues, along with a diocesan attorney were called in and investigated the situation

Their initial report was that the pictures were not criminal.

In the statement, Bishop Finn describes how he was notified in December that Ratigan had images of children at parish events, including some that were “disturbing” and included an unclothed child.

Bishop Finn said the diocese contacted police and their own legal counsel the next day.

“In both instances we were told that, while very troubling, the photographs did not constitute child pornography as they did not depict sexual conduct or contact,” Bishop Finn said.,0,5655183.story?track=rss

So why should the bishop consider this to be a criminal issue when the police investigator that he called in said it wasn’t.

Even so, the bishop sent this priest to live in a convent and forbid that he have contact with child ( note that this was still while the police had informed him that no crime had been commited).

It was after this priest violated the instructions from the bishop that police discovered more photos that had not been known to either the bishop nor the initial police investigators.

When Shawn continued to disregard these requirements, on May 12 ,Vicar General Monsignor Robert Murphy contacted the same police officer previously consulted to discuss his concerns. That officer facilitated our report to the Cyber Crimes Against Children Unit. Along with our report we provided the electronic images that we had received in December. Detective Maggie McGuire began an investigation. In the past week she conducted interviews and, pursuant to a search warrant, found additional materials, which had never been in our possession and which we did not know existed, and which are alleged to constitute child pornography.

Somehow, the NYT forgot to mention all of this.

This is old news… (Maybe just to me, since I live in the diocese in question- but still… I’d have expected the New York Times to be better at staying on top of things).

I personally knew Father Ratigan. He wore a great mask while burying my family members in 2008 and was very good at hiding his sins. I have lost faith in The Church due to him. It hurts knowing he could be this evil while holding my grandfathers hand during his death. I have yet to go back to St. Mary’s after this happened.

Please don’t let the misdeeds of a priest drive you away. He is wrong; but the Church does not belong to him. He should not be allowed to over shadow the great work done by thousands of really good priests.

Please don’t let the misdeeds of a priest drive you away. He is wrong; but the Church does not belong to him. He should not be allowed to over shadow the great work done by thousands of really good priests.

For that matter, please don’t let one man’s sin destroy years of good. No matter what sorts of foul sins this priest committed, nevertheless the confessions he heard were valid, any advice he gave to parisioners is as valid now as it was then, and any comfort he provided to your family was comforting notwithstanding what you have since learned about him.

St. Peter denied Christ three times on the night He was betrayed. All of the apostles abandoned Him, fleeing the scene of His arrest. Paul persecuted the Church before he was called to be an Apostle.

All of those saints had grave sins on their consciences, but they were nevertheless able to do great things in God’s name. The same goes for a priest today, even if he is alleged to have possessed child pornography.

I am sorry you feel betrayed. So, presumably, is everyone who reads the allegations against this man. But don’t let his personal failings destroy the good you have seen in this world, and please don’t abandon Jesus’ Church because of the failings of one of His priests.

Thank you for clearing up the record. I had forgotten these details.

Most people are good at hiding their sins, and all of us have sins to hide.

I have been truly astonished at the amount of mis-reporting which has occurred with respect to this case, particularly in the Kansas City Star, and of course the New York Times. The case seems to have unleashed an underlying anti-Catholic sentiment laying dormant in the KC Star. The prosecutor also seems to be staunchly anti-Catholic. None of this excuses either the priest or the bishop, if they are found guilty, but the underlying sentiment against the Church in general has been startling.

@brendan: whether or not the NYT has this right, there are many very disturbing things about the Ratigan matter. IIRC, it is correct that someone at the diocese called a police officer who was on the review board, but they never actually just called the police. The officer was going on a description provided by someone in the diocese, based upon a fraction of the items actually on Fr. Ratigan’s laptop (and I think they were having a hard time opening all the files). Again IIRC, there was no follow up once the laptop was more fully opened.

Second, why have a review board at all if you are not going to convene it when something like this comes up? The whole point is to take the decision to go to the police about a priest out of the other fellow priests’ and the bishop’s hands, because history has shown that such allegations are handled abominably by clerics (for whatever reasons).

Third, when the officer was re-contacted in May of the following year, he got more information about the types of material on Fr. Ratigan’s computer, and I recall he was angry that the full extent of the photos was not made clear to him, and had he known, he would have advised an immediate call to the police.

Fourth, to my mind almost the most disturbing aspect is that prior to the laptop situation, there were complaints about Fr. Ratigan that the elementary school principal outlined in a letter to Msgr. I-forget-his-name, the same guy I think who called the review board police officer. She met with the Msgr., and gave him the letter. He pushed it back across the desk to her. I can think of no valid reason for him to do this other than to prevent any sort of document trail from being created, and if the principal hadn’t kept a copy, we would never know about this. That is really frightening in this day and age that an apparent desire to cover up an allegation, even of conduct that was clearly not rising to the level of abuse, still exists.

Fifth, and all that being said, I think perhaps the most insight into how these situations get out of hand is in the conduct of the computer repair technician to whom the laptop was first taken, a Baptist. He realized there was at least inappropriate material on the laptop, and perhaps some stuff meeting the definition of child pornography. What did he do? He asked, again IIRC, his wife, his brother, maybe two brothers, and his pastor, what he should do, and every single one of them advised him to call the police. He has no dog in the hunt, so to speak, as a Baptist. What does he actually do? Calls the diocese and delivers the computer to Msgr.!

I am not so sure the Bp. broke any laws, but it was terrible leadership, the buck stopping with him as to the misdeeds of his subordinates - - i.e., the Msgr. who didn’t either a) call the police or b) convene the review board to see if police should have been called.

Not just in the Star. When Bp Flynn was appointed, the diocese had been off the rails for some time. He immediately started to correct that, terminating errant programs, reforming the diocesan paper, laying dissident people off.

There would be a fair number of Catholics in KC who would love to see Flynn removed or discredited, and would gladly aid in the process. Not all, of course, but some.

I go to the parish in question. I don’t know a single parishioner that is in a rage. I kind of hope the NYT gets sued for libel for their blatantly false claims. :mad:

Farsight, I am in the next parish over, and your high school choir sings at our daily masses from time to time. I was confirmed just a month after all of this broke out. Many times I have been tempted to visit your parish just to feel the dynamic and to try to reconcile that dynamic for what it really is versus the way the news portrays it.

From the very first moment I set foot in a Catholic parish with the intention to worship and pray, the first thing that I noticed is there is a VAST difference between what the news reports and what really is.

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