Local News Spotlight

Shawn Ratigan’s lawyer seeks delay in priest’s child-porn trial

Updated: 2012-05-17T05:49:47Z


The Kansas City Star

A lawyer representing a Catholic priest charged with producing child pornography asked a Kansas City federal judge on Wednesday to delay the trial until August.

If granted, the continuance would put trial dates for the Rev. Shawn Ratigan and his boss, Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, within a month of each other.

Ratigan is charged with 13 federal felony counts relating to the possession and production of child pornography. Finn is charged in Jackson County Circuit Court with misdemeanor failure to report suspicions of child abuse for the six-month delay in reporting Ratigan to child welfare authorities after church officials learned of lewd photographs on the priest’s laptop.

Finn’s trial is scheduled to open Sept. 24.

Assistant Federal Public Defender Robert Kuchar asked that Ratigan’s trial be delayed until Aug. 27. Kuchar said in his filing that he recently received more than 1,000 pages of investigative material from prosecutors and needs time to study them and discuss the files with Ratigan and a computer expert.

“In light of the additional discovery, counsel needs more time to conduct a complete investigation into the newly discovered material,” Kuchar wrote.

Though the case against Finn has drawn most of the spotlight in recent months, Ratigan’s case has moved slowly and quietly.

Little has been added to the court case file since October, just two months after Ratigan was charged in federal court. And as the June trial date approached, the file betrayed none of the usual hustle and bustle of lawyers preparing for trial, such as the filing of pre-trial motions, jury instructions or witness lists.

Ratigan also faces child porn possession charges in Clay County.

To contact Mark Morris, call 816-234-4310 or send an email to mmorris@kcstar.com.

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