|Joliet diocese sued
Catholic News ServiceFive lawsuits were filed against the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois, alleging sexual abuse of minors by four priests and a lay teacher during the 1970s and ‘80s.
A Chicago law firm filed the lawsuits in Will County Circuit Court on behalf of victims who said they were between the ages of 8 and 16 at the time.
Separately, a temporary settlement was reached in a lawsuit filed against the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., and Bishop Robert Finn. The suit was filed by a girl who was 2 years old when Kansas City priest Father Shawn Ratigan took photos of her that were said to be “sexually explicit.”
The settlement amount was $600,000 but the structure of the settlement still must be confirmed by the judge. Insurance will cover the cost.
The priest, who pleaded guilty last year to taking pornographic photos of the girl in 2006, is awaiting sentencing.
A second count in the suit accuses the bishop and diocese of receiving, possessing or distributing pornographic images of the girl. The case against Father Ratigan led to a misdemeanor conviction against Bishop Finn for failing to notify police or state child welfare authorities about the photos found on the priest’s computer.