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Ex-priest pleads no contest to abusing Jackson students

Associated Press

Jackson — A former Roman Catholic priest has pleaded no contest to six sexual abuse charges connected to his years at a Michigan high school in the 1980s.

James Rapp likely faces at least 20 years in prison, although the 75-year-old already is in prison for similar crimes in Oklahoma.

Defense attorney Alfred Brandt told a Jackson County judge Rapp coerced students into having sexual contact while working as a teacher and wrestling coach at Lumen Christi High School. He appeared in court Monday.

An investigation began three years ago when victims approached the sheriff’s department. Attorney General Bill Schuette says teens were “robbed of a normal childhood” by Rapp.

“This man was in a position of trust within his church and used that position to take advantage of innocent kids,” Schuette said.

Said Jackson County Sheriff Steve Rand: “Hopefully, this will provide some comfort to the victims or these crimes.”

Rapp, who worked in many states, has been defrocked as a priest. He will get his sentence April 29.

Rapp was ordained in 1959. In addition to teaching at Jackson Lumen Christi High School from 1980-86, he taught in Philadelphia from 1959-61, Salt Lake City from 1968–73 and in Lockport, New York, from 1979–80. After his resignation at Lumen Christi, Rapp served as a priest and teacher in Naperville, Illinois, from 1987–90 and in Duncan, Oklahoma, from 1990–98, according to Schuette’s office.