Priest Arrested, Accused in Teen's Molestation

By Pat Gilliland and Ron Jackson
Daily Oklahoman [Oklahoma City, OK]
May 12, 1999

Duncan — A Catholic priest was arrested early Tuesday in Stephens County and charged with two counts of lewd molestation in a case that involves a minor.

The Rev. James Rapp, 58, pastor at Assumption Catholic Church in Duncan since 1991, was released on $ 10,000 bond.

"This is a sad situation for the community and certainly for the church," Duncan Police Chief Danny Ford said. "Father Rapp is well known around town and well-thought-of as well."

Ford said he became aware of the allegations Monday after his department received a telephone call from a spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.

The Rev. Edward J. Weisenburger, vicar general and spokesman for the archdiocese, said the allegation came from the mother of a teen-age boy Monday.

Ford said the woman's son, 17, alleges he first was sexually abused by Rapp as a fourth-grader at age 10 and was abused by the priest as late as last year.

"We were given two other names (of potential victims) to contact," Ford said. "But we haven't spoken with them yet."

Weisenburger said that because of the seriousness of the allegations, Rapp will not be allowed to serve as a priest while the investigation continues. The Rev. Marc Clifford, associate pastor, will fill the post.

Duncan attorney Jim Kee, representing Rapp, said, "At this time, there is a strong presumption of innocence. At this time, I think that things look good for the father."

Police took Rapp into custody about 1 a.m. Tuesday.

Rapp later met privately with Stephens County District Attorney Gene Christian, Ford said.

Christian could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Rapp's preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. June 15.

Associate District Judge William Buxton, who set Rapp's bond, has disqualified himself from the case.

A special judge has not been assigned.

Kee said Rapp was widely known and well liked in the Duncan community.

Weisenburger said most state priests are affiliated with the archdiocese. But some, including Rapp, belong to religious orders.

Rapp belongs to the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, based in Toledo, Ohio. Officials of the order did not return telephone calls Tuesday.

The order furnishes two priests who serve Duncan and missions in Marlow, Rush Springs and Ryan. The Oklahoma City archbishop approves the assignments.

Weisenburger said the allegation is a source of great concern and sadness for the archdiocese.

"Nevertheless, we are committed to dis- cern the full truth of this matter, to extend pastoral care to any who may have been harmed, and to cooperate fully with the police in their investigation," Weisenburger said in a statement.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
guide of business management sytem guide of job opinions guide of capital goods guide of make fast money guide of Debt restructuring guide of home business guide of income money guide of hospital products guide of international market guide of repair roof before winter guide of website income guide of secure your business guide of face makeup tools guide of jewellery arts guide of tv shows guide of best places on earth guide of job plans guide of cheap cars guide of creating products guide of women tools guide of eat less guide of car insurance process guide of sport stuff guide of garden home guide of cheap insurances guide of electronic tech guide of healthy feeding guide of what is next in fashion guide of improve company guide of tactical insurance guide of make money at home guide of development in business guide of dept loan guide of cooking secrets guide of correct companies guide of jobs with more income guide of reviews o general products guide of improving technology guide of ideal job guide of business sectors guide of dept problem guide of unlimited business guide of suitable insurance company guide of money cars guide of how to market guide of heatlhy diet tips guide of decoration tipse guide of security problems