Judge rules: Bp. Finn cannot be held liable in a civil lawsuit against a priest

From Catholic World News:

Bishop Finn not liable in child-porn lawsuit, Missouri judge rules

A federal judge in Missouri has ruled that the Diocese of Kansas City (Missouri) and Bishop Robert Finn cannot be held liable in a civil lawsuit against a priest who had lewd photos of the plaintiff.

Father Shawn Ratigan, who has entered a guilty plea to child-pornography charges, is now the defendant in a civil lawsuit, brought by the family of a young girl whose photos were found on the priest’s computer. Judge Gary Fenner ruled that while that lawsuit can go forward, the plaintiff cannot argue that the diocese and Bishop Finn aided Ratigan in collecting the photos. Last September, Bishop Finn was found guilty on a criminal charge of failing to report evidence of child abuse. [If memory serves, guilty of one misdemeanor charge and innocent of another misdemeanor charge.] The bishop has consistently said that he was not fully informed of the nature of the photos found on Ratigan’s computer.

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2 Responses to Judge rules: Bp. Finn cannot be held liable in a civil lawsuit against a priest

  1. chantgirl says:

    Assuming Ratigan loses his civil case, who pays the damages? Does he or the diocese? It seems that the motivation to sue in civil court is quite diminished if the diocesan coffers are closed.

  2. Magash says:

    chantgirl,
    Now that the diocesan piggy bank is off limits expect to see either a quick out of court settlement or the civil suite dropped completely. I expect the lawyers involved are on working contingency. Now that they’ve found all they can tap is the resources of a diocesan priest they will quickly find other pursuits.