Eisenberg Cutt Kendell & Olson filed a suit October 7 against the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City alleging that the church intentionally covered up a former priest’s repeated sexual abuse of a child in Utah. Our very own Attorney Eric S. Olson was featured in The Salt Lake Tribune to comment on our fight against clergy abuse.
The former priest under scrutiny, James Rapp, is currently serving time in prison for sexually abusing students in Oklahoma and Michigan. This latest suit alleges that Rapp sexually abused our client when he was in grade school and that he threatened and physically abused our client to deter him from telling anyone about the horrors he was being subjected to.
Unfortunately, it is apparent that the church already knew of Rapp’s crimes. Our client recalls that a sister once walked in while Rapp was sexually assaulting him, but instead of reporting it, she threatened our client by claiming that she would have him removed from his foster parents’ care if he told anyone about the assault. As Attorney Olson told The Salt Lake Tribune, this is evidence that at least one member of the church administration knew Rapp sexually abused our client and actively tried to conceal it.
It is possible to pursue justice for the horrific trauma our client was subjected to despite the expiration of the statute of limitations for certain child sex abuse claims. The statute of limitations does not apply under the circumstances of a cover-up: Since church figures were aware of the abuse and actively covered it up, the church can be held responsible. His and our firm’s top priority is to ensure that the church answers for what happened so our client can find the closure he needs and deserves.
“Justice was never done here in Utah for all of the things that Rapp did,” Attorney Olson told The Salt Lake Tribune. “He’s in prison and paying for it. But what about the church? They had a part in this.”
Further evidence showing that the church was aware of Rapp’s crimes include the fact that, in 2018, the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City published his name among 19 clergy members who were reported to have abused minors. Not accounting for our client, there were at least four other reports to the church that Rapp had assaulted them from 1969 to 1975, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
Rapp has faced allegations in different regions of the United States and has been convicted of child sex abuse in Oklahoma and Michigan. These convictions amount to 60 years of combined prison time for his crimes: In the early 2000s, the court found him guilty of molesting a young Oklahoma boy and punished him with a 40-year prison sentence, followed by a separate 20-year prison sentence for similar crimes perpetrated in Michigan in the 1980s.
Attorney Olson and our entire legal team at Eisenberg Cutt Kendell & Olson are helping our client seek justice after a previous case against Rapp was denied due to the statute of limitations. We believe that our client and Rapp’s other Utah victims are more than entitled to receive closure after all these years, especially considering that survivors often feel a great deal of shame surrounding the abuse they suffered and attempt to bury it and move past it on their own.
No child sex abuse survivor should have to stand alone in their trauma. Eisenberg Cutt Kendell & Olson is here to help. Throughout our years of practice, we have provided respectful, compassionate legal counsel to survivors and have won them millions of dollars in compensation. Renowned by Best Lawyers®, Super Lawyers®, and more, let our esteemed lawyers help you seek the closure you deserve.
When you are ready to speak to a caring attorney, contact Eisenberg Cutt Kendell & Olson onlinefor a free, confidential consultation.