JACKSON, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – Bond was set at $1 million for a former Michigan Catholic school priest, teacher and wrestling coach charged in connection in the alleged sexual assaults of several boys more than three decades ago.
State Attorney General Bill Schuette said75-year-old James Rapp was arraigned Thursday in Jackson District Court on 13 counts of criminal sexual conduct.
A not guilty plea was entered on Rapp’s behalf. He’ll remain jailed pending a June 26 preliminary examination conference.
Schuette said the investigation into Rapp’s conduct began in 2013 when two victims — now grown men — came forward to report the abuse that allegedly occurred when Rapp was assigned to Jackson Lumen Christi High School in the 1980s.
Jackson County Sheriff Steve Rand said his department launched an extensive investigation revealing several more victims.
“The people that are coming forward now are of the age where they have children the same age that they were when these things occurred, and I believe that could also be some of the impetus behind the late reporting,” Rand told WWJ’s Jon Hewett. “Because now they’re looking into the eyes of their own children and wondering it they’re safe in their school or their church or wherever it is they trust their children to be.”
Jackson Lumen Christi was told to leave that school in 1987 following allegations a student was molested, according to Schuette, and then was sentenced to prison in 1999 for sexually abusing teenage boys in Oklahoma.
Schuette said Rapp, who was ordained in 1959, also held teaching assignments in New York, Philadelphia and Illinois during his time as a priest, and authorities are concerned there may have been more victims.
Anyone who may have information about Rapp’s alleged sexual abuse is asked to contact the Attorney General’s Criminal Division at 313-456-0180.
The Associated Press left a message seeking comment from Rapp’s attorney.
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