Priest Enters Sex Abuse Plea

Associated Press State & Local Wire [Duncan, Okla.]
October 26, 1999

A prosecutor has recommended a sentence of up to 40 years in prison for a Roman Catholic priest who has pleaded no contest in Stephens County to two counts of lewd molestation with a minor.

The Rev. James Rapp of Assumption Catholic Church in Duncan on Monday entered a blind plea to the charge, meaning he does not have an agreement with prosecutors for a reduced sentence.

Rapp, 58, has served Duncan's Catholic community since January 1991. Sentencing is scheduled Dec. 17.

District Attorney Gene Christian said he will ask the judge for a prison sentence of 10 to 20 years per count, for a total of 20 to 40 years.

Rapp was arrested in May after the mother of a 17- year-old boy came forward with allegations against the clergyman. The boy claimed he had been sexually abused by Rapp, first at the age of 10 and as recently as last year.

Afterward, another young man came forward with similar allegations.

Rapp's attorney, Jim Kee, said his client is undergoing therapy.

"He's very remorseful, very upset, very saddened," Kee said. "He said, 'I've let a lot of people down."'

A statement released by the Rev. Edward J. Wisenburger, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, said the case was "a source of great sadness for Archbishop (Eusebius) Beltran and the people of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.

"We deeply regret the harm caused by these events and are sincerely committed to being a part of the healing process for all those who have been affected."

Rapp was released on a $ 10,000 bond, but was not allowed to resume his duties at the church.


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