Michigan Catholic High School Rocked by Abuse Charges

By David Mittleman
Legal Examiner
June 1, 2015

In a story that has been developing over the last 6 months, a former Jackson Lumen Christi High School priest has been arraigned on criminal sexual conduct charges stemming from alleged misconduct about 30 years ago. James Francis Rapp worked at Lumen Christi in the early 1980s as a teacher, priest, and wrestling coach. Rapp is currently in prison in Oklahoma after being sentenced in 1999 for similar charges.

History of Abuse

Records released in the early 2000s reveal that Rapp was known to have a history of abuse by 1986, when he left Lumen Christi. According to contemporary news reports, Dr. Frank Valcour at the St. Luke Institute in Maryland determined that Rapp suffered from a sexual disorder and should not be unsupervised around minors. Despite the doctor’s finding, Rapp was allowed to transfer to a church in Duncan, Oklahoma. The Archdiocese of Oklahoma denies knowing of Rapp’s history when it approved the transfer.

Long-Awaited Justice

Two civil lawsuits were filed against Rapp in 1994 for alleged wrongdoing while at Lumen Christi. However, because Michigan has a draconian civil statute of limitations for sexual assault claims, other victims have been unable to hold Rapp accountable in our civil courts. The criminal statute of limitations is much more forgiving, though, and earlier this year Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed criminal sexual conduct charges against Rapp. Rapp was arraigned last week.








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