Priest at center of bishop's trial seeks delay in own case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The lawyer representing the priest at the center of the first criminal trial of a bishop in the decades-long clergy sexual abuse crisis has requested the priest's federal trial be delayed.

The priest, Fr. Shawn Ratigan, is charged with 13 federal felony counts relating to the possession and production of child pornography.

Ratigan's bishop, Robert W. Finn, and his diocese, that of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., face separate criminal trials in a local jurisdiction on charges of suspicion of child abuse, stemming from questions surrounding when they reported Ratigan to police.

Help fund independent Catholic journalism.
Donate now.

The motion for a continuance, filed in federal court today and first reported by The Kansas City Star, would delay Ratigan's trial from June until Aug. 27. Assistant Federal Public Defender Robert Kuchar says in the filing that he only recently received some 1,000 pages of material from prosecutors and needs time to study it.

The charges against Finn and the diocese came from prosecutors in Jackson County, Mo., where the diocesan chancery is located. Ratigan also faces separate charges in Clay County, Mo., where his last parish is located.

While Finn and diocesan officials have acknowledged that they were aware that a laptop used by Ratigan contained lewd images of children in December 2010, they did not report the priest to police until May 2011.

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg

Show comments

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.