Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
News Specialist John Hollenhorst reportingLARRY KELLER/ATTORNEY FOR COLOSIMO BROTHERS."I THINK THERE WAS A FEELING ON THE PART OF FATHER RAPP THAT HE COULD GET AWAY WITH JUST ABOUT ANYTHING HE WANTED TO, GIVEN THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUDGE MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOL AT THAT TIME."
The scandal over sexual abuse by a Catholic priest, 30- years ago seems to get broader and deeper, today.
The Catholic Bishop of Salt Lake assured the faithful today his church is committed to protecting children and families.
But the attorney for two brothers, who claim a priest repeatedly abused them in the early 1970's, says there's increasing evidence of an atmosphere of illegality, at the time at Judge Memorial High School.
The two brothers claim they were sexually abused three decades ago by Father James Rapp, a teacher at Judge Memorial High School.
Yesterday's publicity prompted more accusations. But the Catholic bishop says there's no record that anyone reported anything to Diocesan headquarters back when the events supposedly occurred.
Father James Rapp is already in prison in Oklahoma for other sex crimes.
But if anyone accused him during his Salt Lake years, the Catholic diocese can't find a paper trail.
Bishop George Niederauer/Catholic Diocese - "WE HAVE NO RECORD THAT ANYBODY NOTIFIED US, AND WE CERTAINLY WOULD HAVE IF SOMEBODY DID NOTIFY US."
But lawyer Larry Keller says he has documents proving top officials at the high school forwarded sexual allegations about Father Rapp to their superiors, the leaders of the Oblate Fathers religious order.
Larry Keller/Attorney for two brothers - "WHAT WE CALL OUR SMOKING GUN DOCUMENTS DO EXIST, BUT WHETHER OR NOT THE DIOCESE HAD THEM IN THEIR FILES, WE DON'T KNOW."
Keller says more than 40 people called his office today. The callers were former students and former teachers at Judge, alleging other crimes and other victims of Father Rapp alleging other scandalous behavior.
LARRY KELLER/ATTORNEY FOR TWO BROTHERS: "WHICH MAY INVOLVE OTHER PRIESTS. BUT NOT NECESSARILY SEXUAL MISCONDUCT."
Keller claims Father Rapp may have been emboldened by what went on at this house. Several priests lived here in those days. The lawsuit claims high school students frequently came here for backyard swimming parties where alcohol was often served. The first sexual attack on Ralph Colosimo allegedly occurred here.
LARRY KELLER/ATTORNEY FOR TWO BROTHERS: "ILLEGAL CONDUCT WAS TOLERATED BY ADMINISTRATORS..." (17:46) "AND IT IS WITHIN THE ATMOSPHERE OF THAT ILLEGALITY THAT THIS MOLESTATION OF OUR CLIENTS OCCURRED."
Bishop George Niederauer won"t comment on the old accusations saying they should be tried in court, not the media. But he says the church now has a firm policy on sex abuse.
BISHOP GEORGE NIEDERAUER/CATHOLIC DIOCESE: "IF THERE IS A PROVEN CASE AGAINST ANYONE, FROM HENCE FORWARD, JUST ONE OFFENSE WILL MEAN THE PERSON IS NO LONGER IN MINISTRY.