Assignment History – Rev. Joseph P. Rappl

Summary of Case: Joseph P. Rappl was a Buffalo diocesan priest, ordained in 1978. He assisted at parishes in Lewiston, West Seneca, Holley and Hulberton until 1989. There is an unexplained gap in his work history 1989-1990. During 1990-1999 he was an Army chaplain in California, New York, Washington DC and North Carolina. Beyond that he appears to have left the priesthood, settling in North Carolina where he becamed married and performed sacraments as a "Roman Catholic priest" who was "no longer in the clerical state." He also was a volunteer at a youth camp for the Buffalo diocese.

On March 19, 2018 a 48-year-old man filed a complaint with the diocese, accusing Rappl of having sexually abused him as an 11-year-old altar boy in 1981, at St. Peter's in Lewiston. The man said he had asked Rappl to hear his confession and that the abuse occurred afterward, outside the confessional. On March 20, 2018 the diocese released a list of names of credibly accused priests and lay volunteers and employees. Rappl's name was not included.

: 1978


Start Stop Assignments Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Diocese of Buffalo

Bishop was Edward Dennis Head (1973-1995).

1982 St. Peter's


In April 2018 a man stated publicly that when he was an 11-year-old altar boy in 1981, Rappl sexually abused him at St. Peter's. The man said he had asked Rappl to hear his confession and that the abuse happened outside of the confessional afterward.



Msgr. Anthony J. Caligiuri; Revs. Joseph P. Rappl; Edwin M. Cuddihy, Pastor Emeritus.

St. Peter's had a school with 225-183 students.

Rappl's accuser's attorney submitted a complaint to the diocese March 19, 2018. A day later the diocese released its list of credibly accused priests and lay employees and volunteers. Rappl's name was not included.

1982 1985 St. Catherine of Siena West Seneca NY


Msgr. David A. Gernatt; Rev. Joseph P. Rappl.

1985 1989 St. Mary's Holley NY


Revs. Charles E. Slisz; Joseph P. Rappl.

St. Mary's had a school with 89-64 students.
1985 1989 St. Rocco Hulberton NY   St. Rocco's was a mission of St. Mary's in Holley.
1989 1990         Rappl is not indexed in the 1990 Directory, nor is he listed in the diocesan pages as at his previous or next assignments.


Head was replaced as Buffalo bishop by Henry Joseph Mansell (1995-2003).

1999 Military Chaplain      

The 1991-1993 Directories do not show an address or for Rappl. He reportedly was in California and New York at some point during his military service, but the Directories do not reflect this. The 1993-1997 Directories list him as a US Army Chaplaincy Svcs. Support Group, 2750 Army Pentagon, Washington DC. The 1998 and 1999 Directories show a Durham, NC address.

Rappl is not indexed in the Directories beyond 1999.

1999 2018     NC   Rappl settled in NC, married, and in 2018 was calling himself a married Roman Catholic priest who had left the clerical state, performing sacraments as part of a group of married and resigned priests. He was also working as a counselor at a diocesan youth camp in Buffalo.

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Source: Official Catholic Directory (Kenedy & Sons, 1979-1999).

Another Former Local Priest Accused of Abuse, This Time by a "John Doe", by Michael Mroziak, WBFO, April 4, 2018
 John Doe Accuses WNY Priest of Sexual Abuse, by Mike Baggermean, WBEN, April 5, 2018
 I-Team: Diocesan Youth Camp Employs Former Lewiston Priest Accused of Abuse, by Charlie Specht, WKB, April 5, 2018
 Former Niagara County Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse, by Jenn Schanz, WIVB, April 6, 2018

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Rappl's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with the allegations against him, as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegations we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on April 19, 2018.


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