KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City priest has pleaded guilty to federal child pornography counts in a case that led to misdemeanor criminal charges against his bishop and diocese.
The Reverend Shawn Ratigan on Thursday pleaded guilty to five counts of producing and attempting to produce child pornography. Eight other counts were dismissed. No sentencing date has been set, but guidelines indicate he’ll spend at least 15 years in prison. In December 2010 a technician found “troubling images” of children on Ratigan’s laptop computer. The photos weren’t turned over to police until May 2011, after Ratigan violated orders from Bishop Robert Finn to stay away from children. Finn and the diocese are charged in Jackson County with failing to report suspected child abuse to the state. Both have pleaded not guilty.
LITCHFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A 25-year-old passenger who died in the crash of a double-decker Megabus in Illinois was a native of India traveling to central Missouri. Aditi Avhad was headed to Columbia when the bus slammed into an interstate bridge support pillar Thursday near Litchfield. Illinois State Trooper Brad Lemarr said he didn’t know where Avhad was seated on the bus, which was traveling between Chicago and Kansas City. The city in which she lived was also not immediately known. Some hospital officials say they still are still treating patients, though none are reporting any life threatening injuries. A total of 38 people were taken to area hospitals.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Investigators say this week’s death of a Springfield couple was a murder-suicide. Authorities say 41-year-old Jason Nickols shot his wife, 51-year-old Doris, and then turned the gun on himself. Their bodies were found Monday.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri drivers should get ready for ominous messages along the state’s highways. The Missouri Department of Transportation has begun using its electronic message signs to report the number of people who’ve died on the state’s roads so far this year. The messages also include the percentage of those killed who weren’t wearing seat belts.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A Joplin woman was sentenced to two years in federal prison for embezzling $150,000 from her partner in an interior decorating business. Peggy Newton will also have to repay the money after she pleaded guilty to wire fraud.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Jackson County prosecutor’s office has charged a 42-year-old Kansas City man with killing a woman whose body was found after police said he called them to report her death. The prosecutor’s office says that Lamont Kemp is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Laquita Long. Police found Long’s body Wednesday at a home after a man who identified himself as Kemp called police saying he had just beaten his girlfriend to death. Kemp’s being held on $250,000 cash bond. He did not have a lawyer Thursday.
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City company has announced plans for a $400 million high-power transmission line in northwest Missouri. Kansas City Power and Light will partner with the Omaha Public Power District to build the 150- to 190-mile transmission line. The precise route hasn’t been determined, but the line is intended to connect Sibley, Missouri with Nebraska City, Nebraska. The company says planners will spend the next year identifying the possible routes. Officials hope to have the transmission line in service by June 2017.
BRANSON, Mo. (AP) — Structural steel is about all that’s left of a luxury condo complex near Branson after a massive fire. No one was injured in the blaze at the 68-unit lakefront complex, called The Majestic at Table Rock Lake. But firefighters were still dousing hot spots yesterday nearly 24 hours after the fire broke out.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri officials have used money from a reserve fund to help with the state’s cash flow. The state Office of Administration reported yesterday that $100 million was borrowed from the Budget Reserve Fund. The funds must be repaid by mid-May next year. July is the first month of Missouri’s fiscal year.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri voters are considering a constitutional amendment about prayer. The proposal states people can pray as long as they do not disturb the peace. In addition, the constitutional amendment would prohibit requiring students to participate in school assignments or educational presentations that violate their religious beliefs. It appears on Tuesday’s statewide ballot.