MI--Predator priest is indicted; SNAP responds

For immediate release: Thursday, May 28

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003, [email protected])

An already convicted and imprisoned serial predator priest is being indicted today in Michigan on more child sex charges. (He pled not guilty.) This should happen more often.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is filing more child sex charges against James Francis Rapp who allegedly molested 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 Michigan’s attorney general is being prudent and pro-active here.

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 and the truth can be exposed and so that cover ups are deterred.

We beg Jackson Michigan Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz, Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley and Salt Lake Archbishop John Wester to use their vast resources to seek out and help others who were sexually assaulted by Fr. Rapp.

NOTE – Rapp belonged to the Toledo-based Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, Inc.

(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)

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected])


Former Michigan priest arraigned in sexual abuse cases

Local 3 News - 05/28/2015 12:59 PM05/28/2015 12:59 PM

LANSING – Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced the arraignment of former Jackson Lumen Christi High School priest, teacher, maintenance supervisor, and wrestling coach James Rapp, 75, on charges of multiple felonies for his alleged sexual assault of several Michigan boys in the 1980s.

Rapp was arraigned on Thursday, May 28 at 8 a.m. before Judge Joseph S. Filip of the 12th District Court in Jackson, where a plea of not guilty was entered on the defendant's behalf to three counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct and  . . .

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