A Kansas City-area Catholic priest was charged on Tuesday with several federal counts of producing and possessing child pornography, including allegations that he took explicit photos of a 2-year-old and tried to take some of a 12-year-old girl on Easter Sunday.
A federal grand jury in Missouri indicted Shawn Ratigan, 45, on 13 counts, with six counts of production of child pornography, two counts of possession of child pornography and five counts of attempted production of child pornography, reports said.
The federal indictment charges Ratigan of taking or attempting to take explicit photos of at least five young girls he had contacted with from 2005 until April 2011.
The indictment alleged that some of the photographs, including those of a two-year-old, were taken inside the choir loft of the church in Easton, Missouri where he worked. One of the counts accused him of taking explicit photos of a 12-year-old girl, whom he is alleged to have taken similar photos of, when she was 6, Reuters reported.
The sexually explicit images were found on Ratigan's laptop by church officials and turned over to authorities.
Ratigan was also charged in May in Clay County Circuit Court with three counts of possessing child pornography, and has been jailed on $200,000 bond. He has pleaded not guilty to the Clay County charges.
Ratigan was the parish pastor at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Kansas City, Mo. The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph was embroiled in another scandal three years ago, for which they paid $10 million to settle clergy sexual abuse charges.
In June, the diocese hired a former federal prosecutor to help investigate the allegations against Ratigan.
"The diocese expresses its profound concern for anyone who may have been harmed by Shawn Ratigan," Rebecca Summers, spokeswoman for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph said in a statement. "At the same time, the diocese recognizes the special responsibility of our justice system in matters of this nature."
Ratigan faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison without parole, if he is found guilty on all the federal charges.