Bank robber falsely accused priests

This is so disturbing. What a nightmare.

FOLLOW-UP: Convicted Bank Robber Found GUILTY of Falsely Accusing Four Different Catholic Priests of Abuse [w/ COURT DOCS]

Convicted bank robber Shamont Sapp has admitted in U.S. federal court that he falsely accused four different priests of sexually abusing him back in the 1970s.
Even though his crimes carry up to 25 years in prison, Sapp has negotiated a plea deal with prosecutors, and he will likely serve only 41 months, according to The Oregonian, one of only three media outlets to report this story.
Quite a character
We originally reported on the case of Sapp back in early February. While serving time in prison for ten bank robberies, Sapp not only drummed up four bogus abuse claims against Catholic priests, but he also filed a bizarre lawsuit alleging that Hollywood stars Jamie Foxx and Tyler Perry had stolen his idea for the lowbrow comedy film project Skank Robbers. (Thankfully, the movie never actually made it into production.)
Yet with regards to his attempted scam against the Catholic Church, Sapp found three of his targets by scouring old newspapers in search of priests who had already been publicly accused of abuse. He then filed lawsuits claiming that he too had been abused by those same priests.
Sadly, however, according to the Oregonian, one of the priests Sapp accused of abuse had never been accused before, and Sapp’s bogus 2006 lawsuit terribly damaged the reputation of the innocent priest.

[...]

Who knows how many men have been falsely accused?

Satan is at the bottom of this one. Those who falsely accuse will join him in the deepest cinders – or ice flows – of Hell.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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11 Responses to Bank robber falsely accused priests

  1. philbert says:

    Appalling. I know personally two priests, one diocesan and one religious, who have been falsely accused of sexual misconduct and have been sidelined in consequence and are no longer available for ministry. Neither has been brought to court – in both cases the police laughed at the ludicrous suggestion. But when the word of the victim, or in the case of a young child the victim’s parent, is legally regarded as “paramount,” when the maxim “Innocent until proved guilty” is swept aside the accused has no chance.

    Not only priests are at risk – teachers, youth leaders, doctors are obvious examples , as are those in a marital relationship where one partner wants to ‘bury’ another. This is a deeply wicked lie, a genuine abuse in its own category. Words fail me in my anger.

    Incidentally neither priest has been “laicised.” But they have both been airbrushed out of the diocesan directory

  2. James C says:

    Philbert is right. I also know a couple of priests who have been quietly put in perpetual limbo after baseless accusations. Such a tragedy!

  3. James Joseph says:

    I know a personally know a priest who was falsely accused not by a individual man, but by the fellas in the chancery.

    It went something like this….

    Chancery official, “Farther Smith, do you know anything about the other priests living in your rectory?”
    Rector Priest, “Oh, father so and so would have never done anything like that, and I could never imagine the other father doing anything like that…”
    Chancery official, “…Oh, so you must have done it!”

    Over the years, Cardinal Burke got wind of this (when he was in Rome) and nearly blew his top (so the story goes) and wrote a letter to the diocese. The letter was not delivered for fives years after it was received by the diocese.

    Methinks it had something to do with the altar rail being retained at the parish.

  4. pannw says:

    It must truly seem a nightmare. God help and comfort these poor priests.

    Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    I really really need to pray more for our priests, for their courage to suffer persecution.

    Lord, give us holy Priests; You yourself maintain them in holiness. O Divine and Great High Priest, may the power of Your mercy accompany them everywhere and protect them from the devil’s traps and snares which are continually being set for the soul of Priests. May the power of Your mercy, O Lord, shatter and bring to naught all that might tarnish the sanctity of Priests, for You can do all things. Amen.

  5. Nan says:

    Please pray for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. This is a bad time for us as many priests are being accused of transgressions, many of which are sexual in nature, others of which are based on administrative decisions related to alleged sexual abuse. While I have no way of knowing what’s true and what isn’t, our vicar general has stepped down from that position, and his predecessor a few vicars general before, has stepped down from the board of the local catholic university so as not to become a distraction due to the scrutiny on decisions made many years ago.

  6. BillyHW says:

    Did nobody get suspicious after he accused 4 different priests? I mean, how bad does your luck have to be that you get abused by 4 separate priests?

  7. Joseph-Mary says:

    Fr. Gordon MacRae

    And I knew priest who had been a witness when a young disturbed woman accused her father of incest. There was a trial and the father was exonerated. In 2002 when it was popular to accuse priests, that young woman then accused him. And then my communications with him stopped. When I tried to locate him through the archdiocese, they said he never had been there…

  8. Quas Primas says:

    This must be the cruelest, most agonizing martyrdom that an innocent priest could suffer.

    In addition to our prayer for priests, we can also lend material support through Opus Bono Sacerdotii, http://www.opusbono.org/ — Fr. Z has posted about this excellent charity in the past.

  9. acricketchirps says:

    I feel the same anger… Yet… What an opportunity for sainthood! What a blessing it could be to be falsely accused of something so heinous (far better for the priest’s soul than to have actually committed the abuse and have been truly accused). How much more could a priest be united to One Who was falsely accused and remained silent.

  10. follow1in3 says:

    A story about a very unscrupulous man who falsely accused four different priests of sexual abuse has come to light. That is unconscionable and akin to woman crying rape when it did not happen…it calls into question, (wrongly), any other woman who was raped and reported it.
    So in contrast to those comments, which seemed to be downplaying clergy sexual abuse, I offer this. I am a priest who was sexually abused by a priest as a youngster. I have/had no reason to come forth with this fact except to get well myself and hopefully help others. I didn’t get money or even ask for any money. There is a former priest I was in the seminary with, (since laicized), who sexually abused the under aged daughter of a parishioner. The proof… … …an illegitimate child.
    It is beyond horrible if/when false accusations are made against anyone. It ruins lives or at least it could ruin lives. That is evil. It is just as evil to downplay the horrors suffered by those who have been abused.
    I have met many people, mostly men, through Grief to Grace Ministries, who have suffered their whole lives with the results of the clergy abuse that they endured. These include but are not limited to flash backs, depression, deep seeded anger, mistrust of others, self-medication via drugs, alcohol, gambling, excessive shopping, over-eating and pornography. These are documented negative effects for most of the men and woman who have suffered abuse of any kind. It is a disservice to people who have been abused to falsely claim abuse and it is a disservice to those that have suffered abuse in the Church to down-play or minimalize that abuse.