Fr. Gerard Sheehan Drops a Bombshell on Father Corapi

The Results of SOLT's Investigation

Priest leaving church
Priest leaving church. Aliaksandr Lukyanyuk / EyeEm / Getty Images

Fr. Gerard Sheehan, Father John Corapi's superior in the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT), released a statement on the morning of July 5, 2011, that does not mince words:

While SOLT does not typically comment publicly on personnel matters, it recognizes that Fr. John Corapi, through his ministry, has inspired thousands of faithful Catholics, many of whom continue to express their support of him. SOLT also recognizes that Fr. Corapi is now misleading these individuals through his false statements and characterizations. It is for these Catholics that SOLT, by means of this announcement, seeks to set the record straight.

The statement goes on to detail the allegations made by Father Corapi's accuser, which include "sexual activity with adult women, abuse of alcohol and drugs, improper sacramental practices, violation of his promise of poverty, and other wrongdoing." It then describes the process used to investigate the allegations:

After receiving the allegation, SOLT formed a three person fact-finding team to ensure that it handled this matter in accordance with canonical norms. The team included a priest-canonist, a psychiatrist, and a lawyer. Two were members of religious orders, and one was a lay Catholic. Two were men, and one was a woman. All three have national reputations and substantial experience in ecclesiastical processes related to priest disciplinary issues.

Where SOLT's previous statement (on June 21) hinted that Father Corapi's actions had obstructed the investigation, there is no hinting in today's release:

As the Society was engaging this team, Fr. Corapi filed a civil lawsuit against his principal accuser. He contended that she had defamed him and breached her contract. The contract, according to Corapi's lawsuit, contained a provision binding the woman to silence about him. He offered the woman $100,000 to enter this agreement.
SOLT's fact-finding team subsequently learned that Fr. Corapi may have negotiated contracts with other key witnesses that precluded them from speaking with SOLT's fact-finding team. Many of these witnesses likely had key information about the accusations being investigated and declined to answer questions and provide documents.
When the fact-finding team asked Fr. Corapi to dismiss the lawsuit, to forbear from foreclosing his mortgage, and to release her and other individuals from their contractual obligations to remain silent about him, he refused to do so and, through his canonical advocate, stated: "It is not possible for Father Corapi to answer the Commission's questions at this time."

And then Father Sheehan drops the bombshell:

SOLT's fact-finding team has acquired information from Fr. Corapi's e-mails, various witnesses, and public sources that, together, state that, during his years of public ministry:
He did have sexual relations and years of cohabitation (in California and Montana) with a woman known to him, when the relationship began, as a prostitute; He repeatedly abused alcohol and drugs; He has recently engaged in sexting activity with one or more women in Montana; He holds legal title to over $1 million in real estate, numerous luxury vehicles, motorcycles, an ATV, a boat dock, and several motor boats, which is a serious violation of his promise of poverty as a perpetually professed member of the Society.

But the story does not end there:

SOLT has contemporaneously with the issuance of this press release directed Fr. John Corapi, under obedience, to return home to the Society’s regional office and take up residence there. It has also ordered him, again under obedience, to dismiss the lawsuit he has filed against his accuser.
SOLT's prior direction to Fr. John Corapi not to engage in any preaching or teaching, the celebration of the sacraments or other public ministry continues. Catholics should understand that SOLT does not consider Fr. John Corapi as fit for ministry.

I received this information a few days after I had received a copy of Father Corapi's lawsuit, detailing the allegations that his accuser had made. Father Sheehan's statement about the illicit activities that Father Corapi engaged in is consistent with the allegations listed in the lawsuit.

(You can find full coverage of this story in The Case of Fr. John Corapi.)

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Richert, Scott P. "Fr. Gerard Sheehan Drops a Bombshell on Father Corapi." ThoughtCo, Apr. 20, 2017, Richert, Scott P. (2017, April 20). Fr. Gerard Sheehan Drops a Bombshell on Father Corapi. Retrieved from Richert, Scott P. "Fr. Gerard Sheehan Drops a Bombshell on Father Corapi." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 17, 2018).