The Justice Files: The stranger who played nice

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Guy Platt watched but didn’t think much of what he saw.

It was 1968 and Platt was in second grade at Kearns-St. Anne’s Catholic School.

He thought the man was dropping off his son at the South Salt Lake school. Platt knew the boy. He was a member of the Colosimo family.

Only recently did he know who the man was and his relationship to the Colosimo boy.

Platt wasn’t even a Catholic when he attended the school. But as a known trouble maker at the time his adopted parents wanted structure in his life.

“Children with behavioral problems were sent there,” Platt said. “And that’s where it started.”

Back in 1968, Platt didn’t know the man who dropped off the Colosimo boy was James Rapp, a Catholic priest who taught at Judge Memorial Catholic high school.

Platt said he still got into trouble at the catholic school. He was raised LDS and wasn’t Catholic. At daily masses, Platt attempted to receive Holy Communion which only Catholics are allowed. He was disciplined after many attempts. His punishment was to go back to the classroom during mass.

On a cold, wintry day, Platt remembered running into that man again. The man offered him his coat and placed it on him.

“He bent down and wrapped his coat around me,” recalled Platt. “That’s when the first assault took place and the first touching. This wasn’t the first time I’d been abused.

Before his adoption, Platt lived in a foster group home and claimed he was sexually molested there.
Because of that experience, he said that first encounter with that man didn’t phase him.

“It wasn’t shocking to me,” he said. “It wasn’t new. I kind of just went with the flow. He said this is our little secret.”

Over the next three years, he said the man’s sexual attacks continued and he said the man became violent and he was mean towards him.

One day he said a Catholic nun from the school walked in on the two. Platt said he was on his lap during a sexual encounter.

“When she walked in and that happened, she turned around and left and nothing was said,” Platt remembered about that episode. “Nothing was done.”

And he was ordered not to tell anyone.

“He told me if I ever tell anyone, he would literally kill me,” Platt said. “He told me he would kill me.”

He never knew the man was James Rapp. At the time he was a Catholic priest teaching at Judge Memorial Catholic High School in Salt Lake City.

Rapp was eventually reassigned by his order and left Utah for Michigan and then Oklahoma.

That’s when sex abuse charges finally caught up to him. Rapp was convicted and currently is in a Michigan prison.

About that time, Ralph and Charlie Colosimo sued the Salt Lake Catholic Diocese. They claimed Rapp had sexually molested them as well. In 2007, the lawsuit was dismissed because the statute of limitations expired.

Platt had no idea this had even taken place. Only recently did he google Rapp’s name and discovered his fall from grace. That’s when he learned that man who had sexually molested him decades ago was Rapp.

His attorney has filed a lawsuit against the diocese. Eric Olson said they’re suing because the diocese knew Rapp was their employee but Platt only learned of that when he Googled the name.

“Guy didn’t have that (information) and without that knowledge, he couldn’t bring a claim,” said Olson.

He said the Catholic nun at the school saw what happened and failed to report it to anyone.

The diocese issued a statement in response to the lawsuit. It reads as follows:

“The Diocese of Salt Lake City is saddened to receive the allegation of abuse from Mr. Guy Platt. Abuse in any form, especially of a child, is abhorrent. The Diocese had no knowledge of any abuse by James Rapp during his four years in Utah as a high school teacher. He was transferred from Utah by the religious order of which he was a member. Since 1990 the Diocese has had a stringent policy regarding sexual abuse by church ministers, which mandates reporting to authorities and pastoral outreach for alleged victims. This policy continues to be in effect and is revised and updated by an independent review board annually.”

Nationally, the Catholic church has become more transparent about priests and sex abuse.

The experience caused lifelong problems for Platt. He said he’s gone through several marriages because of flashbacks and a lack of trust.

“I’ve tried to put this out of my mind for many many years just due to the nature of the effects it had on me,” he said.

And even today, he’s dealing with the guilt of never telling anyone.

“To this day I feel guilty about that,” Platt said. “Because so many lives, so many lives were destroyed by this man.

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