Catholic priest in Missouri faces federal charges on child porn

Kansas City StarAugust 9, 2011 

A Catholic priest charged with possessing child pornography in Clay County now faces similar, but much more serious, counts in federal court.

A federal grand jury today indicted the Rev. Shawn Francis Ratigan, 45, with 13 counts of possessing, producing and attempting to produce child pornography — including producing of child porn in a church choir loft.

Ratigan could face at least 15 years, and up to 30 years, in prison if convicted on all counts.

U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips is expected to discuss the new charges at a press conference late this afternoon in Kansas City.

State authorities charged Ratigan in May after church officials of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph turned over images of children they had discovered on the priest’s computer.

According to state court records, the pictures allegedly included so-called “up-skirt” photos of girls under the age of 12 and a nude photo of a girl that focused on her genitals.

After searching CDs and an external hard drive belonging to Ratigan, police found what they alleged were “14 different images of child pornography of a 3-4 year old female” and four other images of child porn.

Investigators also seized a computer that Ratigan used while working in St. Joseph.

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