Last week Attorney Pat Noaker and I held a press conference in Kansas City announcing a lawsuit against the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph and Father Shawn Ratigan. The lawsuit accuses Fr. Ratigan and the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph of violating federal child pornography laws after the Diocese discovered child pornography on Ratigan’s computer and did nothing for months. Pat Noaker wrote more about the case in his blog last week.
In the decades that I have been bringing cases against officials and various arms of the Catholic Church I’ve found that it is typical for Dioceses and Archdioceses to be involved in covering up the transgressions of offender priests. But the actions of the Kansas City – St. Joseph Diocese, in discovering child pornography on Ratigan’s computer and releasing them to their attorneys and others before notifying the police, are particularly disturbing and alarming.
Now we learn about further corruption and scandal facing the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph. The Kansas City Star reports that Msgr. Robert Murphy, the official in the Diocese who oversees complaints of sex abuse by priests, has himself been accused of inappropriate sexual contact. Murphy, the Vicar General, is the official in the Diocese who held onto pornographic images taken from Ratigan’s computer instead of immediately handing them over to law enforcement.
We are deeply concerned that a man who has himself been accused of sexual misconduct is being trusted to handle with care, compassion and due consideration, new claims of sexual abuse against priests in the Diocese.
Although, according to the Diocese the accusations against Murphy are “detailed and full of emotion,” and not “compelling,” and Murphy “firmly denies any sexual impropriety.”
Of course, we have all heard that before.