MI--Predator priest/wrestling coach sentenced today; Victims respond
We're grateful that Fr. James Francis Rapp was charged again and pled guilty to more child sex crimes.
Fr. Rapp has already been convicted on other child sex charges and is imprisoned. So it would have been easy for law enforcement to look the other way when more victims surfaced.
But Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed more child sex charges against him for molesting kids at Jackson Lumen Christi Catholic High School in Jackson in the 1980s.
Once a child molester is convicted, many people who could be helpful get complacent. They assume his sentence will stand, his appeals will fail, and he’ll be kept away from kids for many years. But often, child molesters – especially clerics – get top notch defense lawyers, exploit legal technicalities, and escape with little or no jail time. Then, when other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers find this out, it’s too late for them to really make a difference.
So we’re glad Schuette was prudent, pro-active and successful here. Now, the odds that Rapp will ever walk free are even slimmer. And more of his victims feel vindicated.
There are two important lessons. First, these days, police and prosecutors are often more aggressive and creative about pursing child predators, even in older cases. (The old adage “where there’s a will, there’s a way,” fits here.) More law enforcement officials should follow Schuette’s example and consider going after even elderly child molesting clerics.
Second, no victim, witness or whistleblower should ever assume ‘it’s too late’ to seek justice. It’s our job to share what we know and suspect about possible child sex crimes. It’s the job of law enforcement to determine whether anything can be done. If we stay silent, we’re helping those who commit and conceal child sex crimes.
So if you saw, suspected or suffered any crimes or cover ups related to Fr. Rapp, it’s time to find the courage to speak up, so that the vulnerable can be protected, the wounded can be healed, the truth can be exposed and cover ups can be deterred.
NOTE - Besides Michigan, Fr. Rapp worked in five other states: Oklahoma, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York and Utah. Bishops in each of those states – especially Lansing Michigan Bishop Earl Boyea, Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley and the head of the Salt Lake diocese, Monsignor Colin F. Bircumshaw - to use their vast resources to aggressively reach out to anyone else who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes. He belongs or belonged to the Toledo-based Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, Inc.
No matter what judges or church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or schools – especially in Michigan – to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Former Lumen Christi Teacher & Priest sentenced today on child sex abuse charges
Apr 29, 2016 By: News 10
A former teacher and priest at Lumen Christi Catholic High School charged with sexually abusing boys will learn his fate today.
James Rapp will be sentenced this afternoon on sexual charges stemming from child abuse cases in the 1980s.
Jackson-- A former teacher and priest at Lumen Christi Catholic High School charged with sexually abusing boys will learn his fate today.
James Rapp will be sentenced this afternoon on sexual charges stemming from . . .
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.