'Shortcomings' in Abuse Procedures

An independent report commissioned by the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph to examine its policies and procedures for assessing allegations of sexual abuse of children found “shortcomings, inaction and confusing procedures,” said Todd P. Graves, the former U.S. attorney who headed the investigation. The key finding of the report, released on Sept. 1 by the diocese, was that “diocesan leaders failed to follow their own policies and procedures for responding to reports” relating to abuse claims lodged against two priests. The 138-page report faulted Msgr. Robert Murphy, the diocesan vicar general, who “waited too long to advise the [diocesan] Independent Review Board…of the allegations.” While still vicar general, Monsignor Murphy has been relieved of duties relating to clergy sexual abuse allegations. One issue was his delayed decision to contact police over the suspected misconduct of the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, who was eventually arrested.

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