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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Former priest charged in sexual assault of boys 3 decades ago

Rapp.JPG
Michigan Attorney General's office

A former priest, teacher and wrestling coach at a Michigan Catholic school has been charged with sexually assaulting several boys more than three decades ago.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette says 75-year-old James Rapp was arraigned Thursday in Jackson District Court on 13 counts of criminal sexual conduct.
Schuette says the investigation started in 2013, when two men came forward with allegations of past abuse.

Rapp was assigned to Jackson Lumen Christi High School at the time. He was told to leave in 1987, following allegations a student was molested.

Rapp was sentenced to prison in 1999 for sexually abusing teenage boys in Oklahoma.

He was jailed Thursday pending a June 26 preliminary examination. He’s being held on a $1 million bond.  
A group that works to help victims of sexual assault by members of the clergy welcomed today’s arraignment.

“Once a child molester is convicted, many people who could be helpful get complacent,” says Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “Often, child molesters – especially clerics – get top-notch defense lawyers, exploit legal technicalities, and escape with little or no jail time.”

If convicted of the most serious charges, Rapp could face life in prison. 

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