Principal warned KC diocese over priest

A Catholic school principal warned the vicar-general of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph more than a year ago that parents and teachers found a priest’s behavior to children troubling.

Julie Hess, principal of St. Patrick School in Kansas City, North, detailed her concerns about Father Shawn Ratigan’s behavior including his taking of hundreds of photos of children, in a May 19, 2010, letter to diocese Vicar General Robert Murphy, reports.

“I seek to fulfill my responsibility as school principal in relaying a growing body of parent and teacher concerns regarding Pastor Shawn Ratigan’s perceived inappropriate behavior with children,” Hess wrote.

The warning came more than six months before the diocese was alerted to questionable images of children on Ratigan’s computer.

Father Ratigan, 45, of Kansas City, North, was charged last week with possessing pornographic photos of children taken around churches and schools where he had worked in the diocese. Ratigan pleaded not guilty Monday in Clay County Circuit Court.

Diocese spokeswoman Rebecca Summers said Murphy did get a memo in May 2010 from Hess sharing concerns about Ratigan’s behavior.

“Monsignor Murphy went through each point with Ratigan and set clear boundaries for him,” Summers said.


Principal warned diocese about priest more than a year ago (