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Diocese spends more than $1M on abuse cases during 4 months of '11

Published: Saturday, Jan. 21 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese spent more than $1 million over four months last year to deal with claims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests, according to a new report.

An insurer paid $631,553 in costs relating to molestation cases from July through October, according to the report, published in the diocese's newspaper and on its website.

The sum includes money to counsel victims and defend the diocese, its employees and priests who are named in 24 pending lawsuits. The cases involve abuse allegations from the 1960s through the 1980s.

Another $427,707 in spending is tied to an independent investigation led by former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves at the request of the diocese.

The report said the Rev. Shawn Ratigan's defense isn't being bankrolled with money from diocesan funds. Ratigan has pleaded not guilty to child-pornography charges stemming from claims that he took hundreds of pornographic pictures of children. After the images were found on Ratigan's computer, the diocese waited five months to turn copies of them over to police.

The case has sparked multiple lawsuits and led to an indictment against Bishop Robert Finn and the diocese on misdemeanor charges of failing to report suspicions of child sexual abuse.

The diocesan insurer paid a total of $14.8 million on issues related to priest sex-abuse allegations from July 1, 2002, through Oct. 31, 2011.

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