I was made aware of this late last night. The following statement is from Fr. Corapi’s website:
A Call for Prayer
On Ash Wednesday I learned that a former employee sent a three-page letter to several bishops accusing me of everything from drug addiction to multiple sexual exploits with her and several other adult women. There seems to no longer be the need for a complaint to be deemed “credible” in order for Church authorities to pull the trigger on the Church’s procedure, which was in recent years crafted to respond to cases of the sexual abuse of minors. I am not accused of that, but it seems, once again, that they now don’t have to deem the complaint to be credible or not, and it is being applied broadly to respond to all complaints. I have been placed on “administrative leave” as the result of this.
I’ll certainly cooperate with the process, but personally believe that it is seriously flawed, and is tantamount to treating the priest as guilty “just in case”, then through the process determining if he is innocent. The resultant damage to the accused is immediate, irreparable, and serious, especially for someone like myself, since I am so well known. I am not alone in this assessment, as multiple canon lawyers and civil and criminal attorneys have stated publicly that the procedure does grave damage to the accused from the outset, regardless of rhetoric denying this, and has little regard for any form of meaningful due process.
All of the allegations in the complaint are false, and I ask you to pray for all concerned.
This is profoundly disturbing on many levels. Father John Corapi is a stalwart pro-life priest (a tragedy that such distinctions exist within the clergy). Unlike Father Euteneuer, there is no admission of any guilt here, and so we are left to ponder a great many dimensions.
First, it is possible that the allegations are true in whole, or in part. While I strongly doubt that may be the case, it is nevertheless a possibility, grounded in the reality of past cases of very public clergy, and people should have that level of awareness.
That of course raises what for me is the absolute certainty of a grotesque immorality that has been committed here, though not by Father Corapi. He has been placed on administrative leave, which is tantamount to being tarred and feathered in public, before any reasonable investigation has taken place. I see no indication in Fr. Corapi’s statement that his bishop has placed him on leave, and it may well be the action of his superior in his order. So before the bishop-bashing swings into high gear, we need some clarification.
However, we are not speaking of children. We are also not speaking of rape. The allegations seem to be about sex between consenting parties. They also happen to be about drug addiction. Regardless of who placed Fr. Corapi on leave, it is an outrage that we have devolved to the point where a man is denied due process and the presumption of innocence (An Enlightenment philosophy benefit, compliments of the protestants, trumping Catholic justice). A discreet investigation using Father’s whiskers, blood, and urine could easily put together a portrait reaching back months regarding drug abuse.
A discreet investigation on the sex charges could also provide some clarity. Taking Father at his word, none of this was done prior to publicly trashing his good name. It’s madness.
If denial of due process and the presumption of innocence are the new norm for our bishops, if the mere accusation of sin merits headline coverage, then our leadership has lost its way. Badly. The stress of such humiliation could well cause a relapse of the cancer and cost Father Corapi his life.
Innocent or guilty, the minimum standard of due process and the presumption of innocence ought to apply to our priests, as they do for the rest of us. That increasingly they do not is a sin greater than a priest’s dalliance. Our priests sacrifice marriage, family, career, etc for us. It’s about time the laity demand justice for the accused. If we don’t, we deserve empty seminaries.
My prayers for the restoration of Father Corapi and his good name, and for the intentions of the woman who has brought these allegations forward.