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Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese names clergy accused of abuse

Posted: 2:53 PM, Sep 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-06 18:04:00-04
Catholic Diocese in Ohio releases names of clergy accused of sexual abuse

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on Friday released a list of 19 clerics who Bishop James Johnston Jr. said had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of children against them.

Of the 19 clerics named, 13 have died, two have been removed from ministry, and four have been laicized, or removed from the clerical state. One of the laicized clerics, Shawn Ratigan, is serving 50 years in federal prison after being convicted in 2013 of producing or attempting to produce child pornography.

Johnston said in a statement that he hoped releasing the names would help the victims heal.

"The dreadful scourge of sexual abuse of minors has wounded our entire family of faith," Johnston said. "As shepherd of our local church, I must do all in my power to eradicate this sin, heal those who have been harmed, and bring to justice those who have offended."

The diocese also released the names of 11 clerics in other categories. Three had substantiated allegations while in the diocese but are now under the control of other dioceses; two religious-order priests have been removed from ministry; three former diocesan priests were found "unsuitable for ministry out of concern for the safety of our youth;" and three clergy are part of legal settlements but their cases have not been substantiated in court or by the church.

Johnston said the findings came after independent investigators with Fidelity Consultants reviewed the diocese's records. With the exception of Ratigan, all of the allegations occurred before 1990 and the firm found no clerics currently serving in the diocese with substantiated allegations against them, he said.

The list has been turned over to the Missouri attorney general's office, which is investigating clergy sex abuse in the state's four dioceses.

David Clohessy, former director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said in a statement the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese had no excuse of hiding abusers' names for any length of time.

"So while this may seem like a step forward, it is at best a partial disclosure forced on the Bishop by pressure from parents, parishioners and the public," the statement said. "It is a way of feigning 'openness' trying to diffuse legitimate anger, and turn attention back on the perpetrator priests and away from complicit church officials who have minimized and hidden these cases."

Johnston said any new information of clergy sexual abuse of minors will be updated if the allegations are substantiated.

"I renew my apology to any person who has been afflicted by acts of clergy sexual abuse, including family members," the bishop wrote.

The Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese is the last of four dioceses in Missouri to release lists of accused clerics. The St. Louis Diocese named 61 clergy facing substantiated allegations in July. The Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau identified three priests and the Diocese of Jefferson City listed 35 credibly accused priests or religious brothers.

Dioceses across the country began publicizing names of accused priests in the aftermath of a report issued in 2018 in Pennsylvania, which identified nearly 300 "predator priests" dating back seven decades and accused church leaders of covering up for the abusers.