Friday, August 19, 2011

Federal prosecutors want life sentence for priest in child pornography case

The Kansas City Star
Aug 19, 2011

A Catholic priest accused of producing child pornography should receive life in prison if convicted, federal prosecutors declared Thursday.

Prosecutors disclosed their sentencing goals in a motion asking that the Rev. Shawn Ratigan remain in jail pending trial. They filed the paperwork just minutes before Ratigan’s first federal court appearance on 13 counts of production, attempted production and possession of child pornography.

John P. O’Connor, Ratigan’s lawyer, entered not guilty pleas to all the federal charges on his client’s behalf. The priest, dressed in black jail scrubs and still sporting a bushy, full beard, did not speak during his brief appearance.


Ratigan allegedly lied to his supervisors when they asked if he had taken the pictures, court records said. In addition to various “upskirt” and “crotch” photographs, the supervisors asked Ratigan about a “close-up vaginal” photograph found on his computer, court records said.

Other court records have described that picture as a girl lying down with her panties pulled aside.

Church officials .... have suggested that they weren’t certain that the pictures constituted child pornography.


Immediately after church officials seized Ratigan’s computer, the priest attempted suicide, received psychiatric care and was assigned to live in an Independence mission house.

Prosecutors disclosed Thursday that in addition to accessing Facebook from a computer in a common area of the house, Ratigan also purchased a computer, which he used in his apartment for about 10 days before his arrest.

Images of a 12-year-old girl found on that computer, taken on Easter Sunday, April 24, formed the basis of a charge against Ratigan of attempted production of child pornography.


Full article at Kansas City Star

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