Rev. Shawn Ratigan faces federal child pornography charges

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - An Independence Catholic priest faces federal charges for producing child pornography.

U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips said Tuesday that a federal grand jury indicted Rev. Shawn Ratigan on 13 counts, including six counts of producing child pornography. According to the indictment, Ratigan sexually exploited five victims, ranging from age 2 to 12, over a six year period of time.

The indictment alleges he took explicit pictures of unsuspecting female children from several locations including a church choir loft. The last incident happened last Easter Sunday.

Ratigan, 45, was charged earlier in Clay County with three counts of possessing child pornography and is jailed on $200,000 bond. He has pleaded not guilty to the Clay County charges .

Ratigan has also been accused in a separate federal lawsuit of taking pornographic pictures of a girl from 2006 to 2010.

The following is a statement from the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph:

"The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph has learned today of the action of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri in the case of Shawn Ratigan. The diocese expresses its profound concern for anyone who may have been harmed by Shawn Ratigan. At the same time, the diocese recognizes the special responsibility of our justice system in matters of this nature.

Additionally, the diocese has pledged its continued cooperation with law enforcement representatives and is committed to the full implementation of the five-point action plan announced by Bishop Robert Finn on June 9."

Critics say the diocese and the bishop did not come forward about Ratigan fast enough.

RELATED | Attorney: 'Priest's actions churn your stomach'

Ratigan can face a mandatory of 15 years in federal prison for each of the 13 federal counts.

INDICTMENT | [WARNING: Contains graphic material] http://media2.nbcactionnews.com/NWT/20110809_ratiganindictment.pdf

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