Stephens County family to get $1 million in settlement of lawsuit against Catholic church

Friday, May 9th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A Stephens County family will receive $1 million in a settlement of a civil lawsuit against the Oklahoma City Archdiocese and an Ohio-based Roman Catholic religious order.

Casey Johnson and his parents, Jimmie Bartlett and Pamela Johnson, filed a lawsuit in 1999, alleging the Rev. James Rapp molested Casey Johnson three times when he was a minor.

A confidential letter between the archbishop and his priests was sent to the priests Wednesday night, the Rev. Edward Weisenburger, archdiocese spokesman, told The Daily Oklahoman.

``It is my understanding that the settlement was for $1 million, paid for by an insurance company associated with a religious order based in Toledo, Ohio,'' Weisenburger said.

Rapp served as priest at the Assumption Catholic Church in Duncan from 1991 until his arrest in 1999.

He, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in Toledo, Ohio, the late Oklahoma City Archbishop Charles Salatka and Archbishop Eusebius Beltran were defendants in the lawsuit.

The Johnsons accused the archdiocese and the Toledo religious order of having prior knowledge of Rapp's history with children.

Rapp, 62, pleaded no contest in 1999 to two Stephens County molestation charges. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison and fined $10,000 in each case.

Casey Johnson accused Rapp of touching him outside of his clothing on three occasions, according to court records.