.- On July 7, Fr. John Corapi denied he is guilty of some of the charges leveled against him by his religious order. However, his response did not address some of the serious complaints and instead focused on mostly financial and legal concerns.
Fr. Corapi explained Thursday that he “resigned” from the priesthood last month amid the allegations “because the process used by the Church is grossly unjust, and, hence, immoral.”
“I resigned because I had no chance from the beginning of a fair and just hearing,” he said.
A July 5 statement from the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity said that while Fr. Corapi was involved in public ministry he had “sexual relations and years of cohabitation with a woman known to him, when the relationship began, as a prostitute.”
The order’s investigative team also found that he “repeatedly abused alcohol and drugs,” “recently engaged in ‘sexting’ activity with one or more women in Montana,” and holds legal title “to over $1 million in real estate, numerous luxury vehicles, motorcycles, an ATV, a boat dock, and several motor boats.”
Fr. Corapi defended his accumulation of real estate and other luxuries as acceptable because of an arrangement with the founder of the Society, Fr. James Flanagan. When the Society was first launched, Fr. Flanagan had a policy of encouraging each ministry of the order to be self-supporting.
“I have never relied on the Society for shelter, clothing, transportation, medical care, or legal counsel and instead, using my history of success in business, set up my mission as any savvy business man would, meanwhile continuing to support the Society and many other Catholic Charities,” Fr. Corapi said.
The Society also highlighted in its July 5 statement that a fact-finding team created by the order “acquired information from Fr. Corapi’s emails, various witnesses and public sources,” in response to a signed letter from a woman who is well known to him
The letter allegedly details Fr. Corapi's sexual activity with adult “women.” However, Fr. Corapi's July 7 response does not address the accusation of being involved with multiple women and simply states, “I have never had any promiscuous or even inappropriate relations with her. Never.”
As the order sought to carry out its investigation into the allegations against Fr. Corapi in recent months, it said its fact-finding team was hindered by a civil lawsuit the priest had filed and by non-disclosure agreements he had negotiated with his accuser and other witnesses.
The civil lawsuit argued that his principal accuser had committed slander and breach of contract.
Fr. Corapi has refused to dismiss the lawsuit and the team discovered many other contracts that prevented “key witnesses” from speaking.
“I never paid anybody off to remain silent,” Fr. Corapi said in his most recent statement. “On two occasions there were standard severance agreements executed with former employees and independent contractors.”
“These agreements contained very common non-disclosure provisions. Any attorney who would not include such provisions in such agreements would rightly be guilty of negligent and actionable conduct.”
As part of the July 5 update on the investigation of the charges against Fr. Corapi, the superior of the Society, Fr. Gerry Shehan, ordered him under his vow of obedience to “return home to the society’s regional office and take up residence there,” and to “dismiss the lawsuit he has filed against his accuser.”
But Fr. Corapi indicated in his reply that he would not obey the order. “If I were to commit to the suggestion of the Society, then I would essentially crawl under a rock and wait to die,” he said. “However, I can not deny this desire to share aspects of Truth and Hope with all those willing to hear.”