Federal Grand Jury Indicts KC Catholic Priest

A federal grand jury has indicted a Catholic priest on 13 counts of possessing and producing child pornography.

Shawn Ratigan, 45, is already facing state charges.

KMBC’s Micheal Mahoney reported that the indictment accuses Ratigan of 11 counts of production or an attempt to produce child porn. Prosecutors said Ratigan “exploited five minor victims.” They say the victims range from 2 to 12 years old.

“When a person who has been places in a position of trust exploits and customizes children, he victimizes the entire community,” said U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips.
Ratigan’s arrest on the child porn charges earlier in the year launched a firestorm of controversy surrounding the Kansas City Catholic diocese and its leader, Bishop Robert Finn.

http://tinyurl.com/3wsxmuq

Sex abuse scandal: Groups want alleged abusive clerics named

Standing outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End, groups supporting victims of clergy sexual abuse accused Cardinal Sean O’Malley of maintaining “secrecy” and pressured him to craft a “comprehensive” list of accused Boston clergy.

At issue is a list of priests and church employees accused of abuse that is currently being compiled and that an official said is “very close” to being complete.

The groups are concerned that the list will not include the names of accused religious order clerics because they claimed the archdiocese believes they do not fall under its supervision.

“A child hurt by an order cleric is just as damaged as a child abused by a cleric whose check is signed by the archdiocese,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org.

A spokeswoman for the archdiocese said the list-making is ongoing.

“We understand there is great interest in this process. At this time, substantial progress has been made to facilitate the publication of names but it is complex and our work is ongoing. We continue to evaluate issues associated with disclosing information relating to deceased priests or those accused of a crime, whose guilt or innocence has not been established,” the statement said.

The groups at Thursday’s protest outside the cathedral released scores of names of accused order clerics who have worked in the archdiocese. Some have been arrested and others have been involved in settlements, the groups said.

http://tinyurl.com/3rcmyf5

The Church Doesn’t Get It

Why Bishop Chaput is not the answer

The testimony before a grand jury in 2003 and 2004 of Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, during the D.A.’s investigation of clerical sexual abuse, is now online courtesy of the Inquirer; it was filed as part of the current trial of Monsignor William Lynn. Reading Bevilacqua’s actual words is important, to get the feel of who he was, his thinking, and the way he should run his archdiocese.

There’s another reason we should read what he said. The problem that the archdiocese of Philadelphia faces is not merely that it has been run by men who were far more concerned with protecting pedophile priests and the Church itself than the children who were raped by those priests. If that were the case, the solution would be straightforward: You get rid of those men at the top. But the problem is far deeper than a few Cardinals who are morally bankrupt. And that is what the Church refuses to understand.

Bevilacqua’s testimony is telling. At one point over many hours and many days, assistant D.A. Charlie Gallagher asked the Cardinal several times why–when a priest who had sexually abused a parishioner was removed–Bevilacqua did not inform that parish as to why their spiritual leader was gone.

Charlie Gallagher: “Don’t you think it would have been advisable to do that, to find out if he had abused anyone else?”

Cardinal Bevilacqua: “I repeat what I said before–we did not see it was necessary because no one was held back from reporting it.”

Gallagher: “Weren’t you concerned about whether or not there were other victims in that parish?”

Bevilacqua: “Oh, I’d be concerned about any victim, but there’s–if they wanted to come to us, they could have come anytime.”

Gallagher: “So you left it all up to these innocent children to come forward and make these claims; is that correct?”

Bevilacqua: “Their families. I don’t see–there was no restriction on anybody. They could come any time at all.”

Gallagher: “I’m not questioning the restriction … put upon the other parishioners. All I’m asking is: Don’t you think it would have been wise to go back to that parish to find out if there were other victims in that parish?”

Bevilacqua: “No, I didn’t think it was necessary, and I don’t see why we had to do that.”

That exchange, of course, is only the tip of the iceberg. We now know the story, of how the Church protected priests who raped children by moving them around to other parishes, where they went on their merry way raping more children. But I cite the above because of Bevilacqua’s chilling tone, and how it nails his monumentally skewed priorities.

So can this scandal be solved by the retirements of Cardinals Bevilacqua and Justin Rigali, and by bringing in Bishop Charles Chaput, who supposedly has a good record on sexual abuse (though there are serious questions about that)? In short, will Chaput’s aggressive brand of Catholicism move the archdiocese past the current mess?

No. Because the mindset and actions of Cardinal Bevilacqua–and his successor Rigali, who punted on the problem–are a symptom of a crisis even deeper than priests who rape children being protected and allowed to rape more children.

We are too far down the road of understanding institutional power for the Church to do anything but openly admit not just the facts of abuse, not just the awful way it has dealt with that abuse, but the most basic truth that everyone can now see: That the Church as an organization–as an institution with power held tightly at the top, with maintenance of that power the abiding concern–must fundamentally change.

I invite you: Take a look at that grand jury testimony of Cardinal Bevilacqua. His attitude merely reflects how power is organized and maintained in his Church. So it is beside the point to grade Bishop Chaput on what he did in Denver, or to put much stock in him reinvigorating the local faithful, because what this archdiocese needs, what the Church needs, is the radical understanding that its own power structure has gone haywire. In fact, it has been haywire, and the sexual abuse scandal, like the Arab spring, as messy as it is, as painful as it is, speaks to a changing world: In this case, the Church is no longer powerful enough to mute victims, and it must start listening to them. And to parishioners.

Watch, many are saying about Bishop Chaput: This guy is a firebrand. No such thing as Catholic lite from him. But Chaput’s style of faith, as charged and beautiful as it may be, is not the answer; his appointment, in fact, is an end run on the crisis. Because back to the fundamentals in an authoritarian way, which is what Chaput really offers as head of the archdiocese, is exactly the style that got the Church into this mess over the past few centuries. How long will it take to understand that?

http://tinyurl.com/3fzrbvc

Bishop’s laptop had child torture pics

OTTAWA – A disgraced Roman Catholic bishop betrayed little emotion Thursday as a court was told his laptop contained hundreds of pornographic images of young boys — including photos of torture.

Raymond Lahey was in an Ottawa court for sentencing in a child-porn case that has rocked his former Nova Scotia archdiocese of Antigonish.

The 71-year-old cleric pleaded guilty in May to importing child pornography and voluntarily went to jail to begin serving time even before a formal sentencing.

A second charge of simple possession remains against Lahey, but it is expected to be withdrawn as part of the plea deal when he is formally sentenced later this year.

Close to 600 photos, mostly of young teen boys, were found on Lahey’s Toshiba laptop and a handheld device when he was stopped at the Ottawa International Airport in September 2009.

An Ottawa police detective told the court Thursday that the images ranged from soft-core nude shots to far more gruesome photos.

“Some of them were quite graphic,” Det. Andrew Thompson said. “There were images of nude boys, but there were also torture and stuff like that.”

As Thompson answered questions from the witness stand about the contents of Lahey’s laptop, the bishop sat quietly, his right hand trembling slightly as he ran his index finger along his mouth, chin and the cleft between his nose and upper lip.

He was dressed in a grey sport coat, khaki pants and a tan shirt with the top few buttons undone. He wore glasses and his grey hair was neatly combed and gelled.

Lahey’s lawyers argued that the bishop may not have seen every image stored on his laptop’s hard drive, since some of the pictures may have come from pop-up windows he never actually looked at.

They also tried to make the case that the 588 images of child porn were just a small fraction of the 155,000 or so photos on his computer. Thompson said. They also discovered that the bishop came across many of the images by typing the keyword “twink” into a search engine. The court heard the term is associated with hairless, adult males and is sometimes used within the gay community.

Among the contents of Lahey’s laptop were pornographic stories about children which, like some of the photos, depicted torture. A character in one of the stories, entitled “The Masturbation Chronicles,” shares Lahey’s name, Father Raymond. It was not clear if that tale involves torture.

Thompson told the court some content on Lahey’s laptop ranked among the worst he has seen during the course of what he estimates are between 50 and 300 child-porn cases.

“They’re right up there,” he said. “I mean, it doesn’t depict infants but the explicit images of torture are disturbing.”

A support group for clergy-abuse victims called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests urged the judge to give Lahey a tough sentence.

“We urge the magistrate presiding over this sentencing hearing to give Lahey a stiff sentence and send a message to pedophile clerics in Canada and abroad that child abuse will not be tolerated,” the group said in a release.

“Kids are safest when child predators are jailed, so we sincerely hope that Lahey is put behind bars, and we urge anyone who was a member of the Antigonish diocese who saw, suspected, or suffered these crimes to come forward and tell their story to civil — not church — authorities. Please remember that there is no greater weapon for a pedophile than silence.”

Lahey is scheduled to return to court in December. His lawyer, Michael Edelson, has asked the judge to reschedule that appearance for an earlier date

http://tinyurl.com/3pfsx95

Chilean priest charged with sexual abuse hangs himself

Rodrigo Munoz Allendes was 45.

A few days ago he was accused by a 19-year-old boy.

He was found hanged in the courtyard behind the Church of Santa Chiara, located in the “La Cisterna” district of Santiago del Chile.

The name of the 45-year-old Chilean priest was Allendes Rodrigo Munoz.

He was accused of alleged sexual abuse by a 19-year-old boy, local media reported.

Shortly after the corpse was found, the Episcopal Conference posted on Twitter: “the Vicar of the southern are of the capital city has received a complaint of sexual abuse against Don Rodrigo Allendes.”

Jaime Coiro, the spokesman for the Episcopate, could not say when the crime had allegedly been perpetrated.

http://tinyurl.com/3okvsvc

According to press reports, however, the police had already known that the youth’s family was about to file the complaint since the beginning of the month.

On May 12th, another priest, Luis Eugenio Silva, knowing well the Chilean media, had tried to commit suicide before their “version” of the his alleged sexual abuse could be released.

The Church denied though, pleading depression for a skin cancer.

Yesterday, three of the four youths who had filed complaints of sexual abuse in 2010 against Father Fernando Karadima, who was well known in Santiago and whose crimes the Vatican condemned, have published a vademecum to prevent these situations from happening again.

For this and other cases, President of the Episcopal Conference Ricardo Ezzati has already asked for forgiveness several times.