KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has agreed to pay $200,000 to settle a lawsuit over a parent’s claims that a pedophile priest took obscene photos of her two minor daughters.
The out-of-court settlements, finalized last week, bring to about $4 million the amount the diocese has paid out to plaintiffs in cases involving Shawn Ratigan, The Kansas City Star reported Monday. Ratigan, whose computers were found to contain hundreds of lewd photos of young girls, was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison and 21 years in state prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.
His case also resulted in a misdemeanor criminal conviction in 2012 against former Bishop Robert Finn for failing to report suspected child sexual abuse to the state. Finn, the highest-ranking church official in the U.S. to be convicted of taking no action over abuse allegations, resigned in April.
Diocesan spokesman Jack Smith said Monday that the settlements, which will be funded by the diocese’s internal self-insurance program, included an offer of counseling for the two girls and their mother if they desire it.
Rebecca Randles, an attorney representing the family, said a so-called “friendly lawsuit” was filed in 2014 against the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners to determine whether police had photos in their investigative files that would prove the girls were victims of Ratigan.
“Once it was determined that in fact pictures existed, we were able to settle the claims before filing a civil suit,” Randles said.
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