Former High School Priest Charged with Sexual Assault

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James Francis Rapp is charged with 13 felonies. Three for first degree sexual conduct.

"Right now I think it's four victims, but that's not to say that more won't come forward once they know about these charges being issued," said Sheriff Steven Rand of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.

The former priest was a teacher, maintenance supervisor and wrestling coach at Jackson Lumen Christi High School from 1980 to 1986.

Sheriff Rand continued, "Everybody deserves their day in court and to be able to maybe put some level or some measure of comfort to what is a really nasty, long lasting, enduring memory for them."

The investigation began after two of Rapp's victims reported the alleged sexual abuse to the Jackson County Sheriff's Department in 2013, more than 30 years after the alleged crimes occurred.

"They're probably at the age now where they have children they have to look out for and all these memories come back; and, I think they feel an obligation to see to it that the person that did this, if he's found guilty, spends the rest of his life behind bars," Sheriff Rand said.

The principal of Jackson Lumen Christi called the incidents a horrible tragedy.

"I just want to make sure that the victims, especially, know that it grieves the heart of God that they're suffering at the hands of somebody that was entrusted with such a tremendous gift and they're in our prayers," Principal Christopher Smith said.

The Diocese and the U.S. Conference of Bishops have already put measures in place to ensure something like this never happens again.

"They have a victim assistance coordinator ...to make sure people have support if they ever went through it again," Principal Smith explained.

Rapp is currently serving time in Oklahoma on charges unrelated to this case. The Attorney General's Office plans to extradite him as soon as possible.

Anyone with information about Rapp's alleged sexual abuse is encouraged to call the Attorney General's Criminal Division at 313-456-0180.

Or, you can reach out to the Diocese of Lansing's Victim Assistance Coordinator, Adrienne Rowland, at 888-308-6252.