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Catholic priest sentenced to 50 years in child porn case

Sept. 12, 2013 at 6:11 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Sept. 12 (UPI) -- A Roman Catholic priest in Kansas City, Mo., was sentenced Thursday to 50 years in prison on federal child pornography charges.

The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Gary Fenner. Since there is no parole in the federal prison system the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, 47, is virtually assured of spending the rest of his life in prison, the Kansas City Star said.

Ratigan was charged in 2011 after a computer technician found hundreds of photographs of five underage girls on Ratigan's laptop computer.

He was found unconscious in his garage the day after the computer technician reported his find, with a motorcycle running and a suicide note.

Ratigan pleaded guilty in 2012 to four counts of producing child pornography and one count of attempting to produce child pornography. The pictures were taken by Ratigan while he was a priest in several local parishes, WDAF-TV, Kansas City, reported.

The incidents led to multiple civil lawsuits against the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and criminal charges against Bishop Robert Finn, the Star reported.

Finn is serving two years of probation for failing to report suspicions against Ratigan when they first surfaced, making Finn the highest-ranking U.S. Catholic Church official convicted of criminal charges, the newspaper said.

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