Former Priest Sentenced For Child Sex Crimes

Inside a Catholic church

James Francis Rapp is a former Catholic priest who is accused of sexually assaulting young boys.


James Francis Rapp is currently in prison in Oklahoma. He is serving a 40-year sentence for sexually abusing two teenage boys there. However Rapp, a former Catholic priest and high school wrestling coach, has just been sentenced to another prison term for an entirely separate set of charges stemming from a completely unrelated sex abuse allegation in Michigan.


Rapp was recently sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison after pleading no contest to criminal sexual conduct charges in February. The sentence was handed down by Circuit Judge Susan Beebe in the Jackson County Circuit Court. According to the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, the charges were the result of an investigation that took almost two years to complete.


It began when two men, who had been students in the 1980’s during Rapp’s time at Lumen Christi High School in Jackson, came forward in 2013. They made allegations against Rapp claiming that he had sexually abused them while they were teens. But they weren’t the only ones.


As the investigation unfolded, others came forward claiming that they too had been molested by Rapp.


As a result, he was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony which includes penetration of the victim and is punishable by up to life in prison with an additional charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.


All in all, by the end of 2015, Rapp was facing 19 felony counts of criminal sexual conduct. He was extradited from Oklahoma to face charges here in Michigan but in the end was able to work out a plea deal with the prosecution. He pled no contest to 6 counts of CSC in Jackson County Circuit Court and in return the other 13 counts were dismissed.


Michigan is now the third state in which Rapp has faced charges for allegedly sexually abusing children. This has led several people to suggest that he is a serial predator. Rapp is alleged to have worked in six different states over the course of his career before being defrocked as a priest.


The sentencing was addressed in a statement released by Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office. “Today the victims of James Rapp received some closure after over 30 years of waiting. These victims were robbed of their childhood and that can never be undone. Today’s sentencing, hopefully, offers some solace, knowing this man will never be able to hurt a child again.


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