Catholic Diocese spends $1M on priest sexual abuse cases
The Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese spent more than $1 million during four months of 2011 in connection with priest sexual abuse cases, according to a diocesan report.
The report shows a diocese insurance program incurred $631,553 in costs relating to clergy sexual abuse from July through October. It also paid $427,707 in connection with an independent investigation led by former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves at the request of the diocese.
No legal costs have been paid from that fund or any other diocesan fund for the defense of the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, a priest who was charged last year in state and federal courts with possession of child pornography, the report says. Ratigan’s arrest sparked a flood of lawsuits and resulted in an indictment against Bishop Robert Finn and the diocese on misdemeanor charges of failing to report suspicions of child sexual abuse.
The figures — the most detailed the diocese has provided on the costs related to priest sex abuse cases — were released in a five-page document that was published in The Catholic Key, the diocesan newspaper, and posted on the diocese website.
In a letter with the report, Finn called the document an overview of how the diocese has fulfilled the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, a groundbreaking document that U.S. bishops approved 10 years ago at the height of the church’s sex abuse scandal.
“We have taken many important steps to prevent abuse from happening in diocesan, parish or school settings,” Finn said.
But critics said it was unfortunate that the diocese has had to spend so much on sex abuse cases.