Federal trial of accused pornographic priest delayed until 2012

The federal trial against Fr. Shawn Ratigan, a priest of the Kansas City-St. Jospeh diocese who is accused of child pornography, has been continued until June 4, 2012, reports the AP.

Ratigan's arrest in May has brought controversy on the diocese regarding when it reported the priest to police. Both Bishop Robert Finn and the diocese as a whole were charged by a county prosecutor earlier this month with separate counts of failure to report suspected child abuse.

From the AP report:

The Rev. Shawn F. Ratigan had been previously scheduled to go on trial Monday. But his public defender, Bob Kuchar, asked for a continuance, saying he had not had time to adequately prepare for the case.

Kuchar was appointed to defend Ratigan in September after previous lawyers withdrew from the case.

Ratigan is facing three state child pornography charges and 13 federal charges alleging he possessed, produced and attempted to produce child porn.

The 45-year-old has pleaded not guilty on all charges.

Rebecca Summers, the diocesan spokesperson, said in a phone interview that, to her knowledge, Ratigan's previous lawyer had been John O'Connor, an attorney with the local firm Wagstaff & Cartmell.

While O'Connor is a Catholic, Summers said the lawyer had taken up the priest's defense of his own initiative, and had been working pro bono.

A phone call to O'Connor's office was not immediately returned this morning.

For more on the controversy surrounding the Ratigan case, see: After indictment, KC Catholics wonder what's next.

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