Schuette Announces Arraignment of Former Michigan Priest in 1980s Sexual Abuse Cases

Schuette Announces Arraignment of Former Michigan Priest in 1980s
Sexual Abuse Cases

James Francis Rapp, formerly of Jackson, faces 13 counts of criminal sexual conduct

LANSING – Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced the arraignment of former Jackson Lumen Christi High School priest, teacher, maintenance supervisor, and wrestling coach James Rapp, 75, on charges of multiple felonies for his alleged sexual assault of several Michigan boys in the 1980s.

Rapp was arraigned on Thursday, May 28 at 8 a.m. before Judge Joseph S. Filip of the 12th District Court in Jackson, where a plea of not guilty was entered on the defendant’s behalf to three counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct and 10 counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct.  Rapp was also assigned a $1 million cash bond. He is next due in court for a pre-exam conference on June 26, 2015 at 8 a.m. before Judge Joseph S. Filip of the 12th District Court in Jackson. Jackson-area attorney Alfred Brandt has been appointed to represent Rapp.

Case Background

In spring of 2013, more than 30 years after the alleged crimes occurred, two of Rapp’s victims reported the alleged sexual abuse to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, who then launched an extensive investigation revealing several more victims.

JLC was not Rapp’s first church or school assignment.  Rapp was ordained in 1959 and held teaching assignments in Philadelphia (1959 – 1961), Salt Lake City (1968 – 1973), and in Lockport, New York (1979 – 1980).  Following Rapp’s resignation at JLC, Rapp served as a priest and teacher in Naperville, Illinois (1987 – 1990) and Duncan, Oklahoma (1990 – 1998).

On January 12, 2015, Schuette filed the following charges against James Francis Rapp in Jackson’s 12th District Court:

  • Three counts of First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, a felony punishable by up to life in prison; and,
  • 10 counts of Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

If convicted of the first degree sexual assault counts, Rapp must also register as a sex offender for life in Michigan.

Citizens who believe they may have information about Rapp’s alleged sexual abuse are encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s Criminal Division at 313-456-0180.

Cold Case Sexual Assault Project and Role in Investigation

This case will be prosecuted by Attorney General Schuette’s Cold Case Sexual Assault Project  (AGCCSA).  Created in 2012, AGCCSA is funded by a United States Department of Justice-Office of Violence Against Women grant to combat sexual assault and sexual violence.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 


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