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Judge limits suit against Catholic church over priest's kid porn

May 15, 2013 at 4:59 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo., May 15 (UPI) -- A judge has limited a lawsuit against the Catholic diocese of Kansas City, Mo., about a priest's creation of child pornography.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a girl identified only as Jane Doe 173. She was 2 when the Rev. Shawn Ratigan took sexual pictures of her in 2006.

In a ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Gary Fenner said lawyers for Jane Doe cannot try to prove that the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and Bishop Robert Finn "abetted" Ratigan, The Kansas City Star reported.

The judge said the jury can consider evidence that church officials, including Finn, knowingly distributed child pornography.

Pornography on Ratigan's laptop computer was discovered by a computer technician. The priest is awaiting sentencing on federal child pornography charges, while Finn was convicted in state court in August of failing to notify police or child welfare agencies about the images.

The civil trial is to begin Monday.

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