Ex-priest who worked in Lockport pleads guilty to more child sex crimes after conviction

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) — Fr. James Francis Rapp, a former priest who worked in Lockport, has pleaded guilty to additional child sex crimes after he was convicted in Oklahoma.

Rapp worked in Lockport from 1979 to 1980, and also worked in Michigan, Oklahoma, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Utah. He was ordained in 1959 and taught in classrooms for 40 years across the country.

In January 2015, he was charged with 13 felonies for 1st and 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct. He was charged with six more felonies in June. The crimes allegedly occurred in the 1980s.

David Clohessy, the director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says he hopes more people hurt by Rapp will come forward.

“Once a child molester is convicted, many people who could be helpful get complacent,” said Clohessy. “They assume his sentence will stand, his appeals will fail, and he’ll be kept away from kids for many years. But often, child molesters – especially clerics – get top notch defense lawyers, exploit legal technicalities, and escape with little or no jail time. Then, when other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers find this out, it’s too late for them to really make a difference.”

Rapp is currently imprisoned and will be sentenced in April.

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