Law Firm Releases Report Concerning Archdiocese Of OKC's Handling Of Sexual Abuse Allegations
Eleven priests in the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City were identified as having faced substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors between 1960 and 2018, according to an independent report.
The report was conducted by McAfee & Taft who were retained by the archdiocese.
Approximately 545 individual priest files were reviewed as well as thousands of paper records including policies, procedures, litigation files, deposition transcripts and other materials. The investigative team also imaged more than 1 million electronic files that were selectively searched and reviewed.
Of the 11 priests accused, six have died since the initial allegations were reported. One of the 11 priests is currently incarcerated.
In December 1999, Father James Francis Rapp pleaded guilty to two counts of lewd molestation. A judge in Stephens County, Oklahoma, sentenced Rapp to two 20-year terms to be served consecutively. Rapp was convicted in April 2016 in Michigan on six counts of criminal sexual conduct. He was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison.
The 77-page report was issued Thursday morning and recommended how the church should move forward. A copy of the report was provided to the Oklahoma attorney general's office.
“The Archdiocese wanted a thorough, independent investigation; McAfee & Taft provided precisely that,” said Ronald T. Shinn Jr., the attorney who led the investigation. “It should be noted the Archdiocese was under no obligation to initiate this outside investigation, and that by doing so, it subjected itself to independent review and criticism of its past actions. While this investigation and our Report address difficult and painful issues, we hope the public will commend the Archdiocese’s transparency and accountability.”
The recommendations include:
- Engaging a qualified independent investigator to review allegations of sexual abuse of minors and report to the Archdiocesan Review Board
- Taking steps to improve recordkeeping regarding allegations of abuse
- Implementing a written record retention policy and acquiring a more robust recordkeeping system
- Publicly reporting the findings and actions of the Archdiocese when it makes decisions relating to allegations of sexual abuse of minors
- Clarifying that all Archdiocesan personnel should immediately report any concerns about the sexual abuse of minors
“As detailed in the Report, some of the key findings of our investigation were the Archdiocese conducted inconsistent and inadequate investigations into past allegations of sexual abuse of minors, failed to follow its own policies and procedures in some instances, and had inadequate recordkeeping policies and systems that made it difficult to make informed decisions,” Shinn said.
Archbishop Paul S. Coakley released the following letter shortly after the release of the independent report:
If you are victim of sexual abuse, you may report the allegations to the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City's hotline at 405-720-9878. Click here for more information about reporting allegations.
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services has established a statewide abuse reporting hotline at 800-522-3511.
You may also report allegations to the law firm at 405-235-9621 and ask for Ron Shinn.