|Order||former member of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (S.O.L.T.)|
May 20, 1947 |
Hudson, New York, US
|Ordination||May 26, 1991|
John Anthony Corapi (born May 20, 1947), known as Fr. John Corapi, was a Catholic priest of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (S.O.L.T.) in the United States. He was popular in the early 2000s for his regular appearances on Catholic television and his syndicated daily Catholic radio show. He published instructional media including books, DVDs, and websites, and made speaking appearances throughout the world.
In 2005, Corapi was awarded $2.7 million USD for his role as a whistleblower in a qui tam False Claims Act lawsuit against Redding Medical Center that resulted in an overall $24 million USD payment to defrauded patients.
In 2011, Corapi was removed from public ministry as a priest following allegations of misconduct, which he denied. By 2012, his website and his accounts on Facebook and Twitter had been closed.
Corapi was born in Hudson, New York. In high school, he was a football player and an undistinguished student. In 1965, he entered the State University of New York at Albany, but returned to Hudson after academic difficulties.:51
Corapi joined the United States Army on April 16, 1967, serving as a clerk and typist, and was discharged in January 1970. He has stated that he enlisted to join the Special Forces but was injured before completing his training.
Career and dissolution
After his discharge in 1970, Corapi studied accounting at Pace University and graduated in 1973. He joined an accounting firm in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he audited hotels and casinos. In 1975, he became assistant comptroller at the Tropicana Resort & Casino. A year later, he took a position with the Nevada Gaming Control Board as an investigator. He later operated his own bookkeeping firm for about a year before moving to Los Angeles, California, in 1978 where he became a real estate agent.
Corapi has stated that he was making a six-figure income in condominium conversions in the early 1980s while living in a waterfront home in Oxnard, California, owning a Ferrari 308 GTS and a 60-foot yacht.:49–62 At the height of his career in California, Corapi lived in a mansion in the affluent beachfront city of Malibu.
During this time he began to attend parties involving sex and illegal drug use. After being introduced to cocaine, he developed a substance abuse problem, sometimes spending as much as $10,000 USD per week on illegal drugs. Corapi would later refer to his drug use as an encounter with a demon. His finances deteriorated and his lifestyle eventually led to a mental breakdown and homelessness following a stay at a VA psychiatric hospital.
Corapi spent three years wandering the streets of Los Angeles as a vagrant following his mental breakdown. His mother sent him a prayer card with the Hail Mary prayer and asked him to pray it once a day. He eventually changed his life, escaping homelessness and illicit sex and drugs. His mother sent him an airline ticket back to New York, and he returned home. He lived with his mother for some time and returned to the practice of the Catholic faith after a conversion experience on June 24, 1984, making his first confession in several years.:57–58 He later told his story in a series of sermons called "The Darkness Will Not Prevail".
Corapi entered Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut, in 1986 and earned an M.A. in Sacred Scripture.:58–59 He joined the missionary community the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity and on May 26, 1990, was ordained a deacon by René Henry Gracida, Bishop of Corpus Christi, Texas. He earned an S.T.B. degree from the University of Navarre in Pamplona, Spain.
On Trinity Sunday, May 26, 1991, Pope John Paul II ordained Corapi to the priesthood. Corapi says that Mother Teresa of Calcutta stood behind him at his ordination, and that he saw a vision of the Virgin Mary smelling of lilacs on that day.:59 Corapi's first assignments as a priest were at parishes in Hudson, New York and Robstown, Texas. Later, in the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, he became the Director of Catholic Faith Formation and of the Bishop's Project on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Corapi earned a doctorate in dogmatic theology from the University of Navarre.:58–59 He became a regular contributor to the EWTN television and radio networks.
In 2008, Corapi curtailed his public appearances for reasons of health, but continued to produce audio and video programs from his studio in Montana. On August 15, 2009, Corapi made his first public appearance in over a year in Buffalo, New York for his "Lord and Giver of Life" conference at HSBC Arena. He completed and taped several conferences in 2010, including at San Antonio, Texas, St. Louis, Missouri, and Cincinnati, Ohio. In subsequent months, Corapi preached sermons on the dangers of socialism.
Qui tam False Claims Act lawsuit
Corapi filed a qui tam False Claims Act lawsuit against Redding Medical Center cardiologist Chae Hyun Moon after Moon informed Corapi in 2002 that he was in immediate need of triple bypass surgery, but then told Corapi that the procedure could wait three weeks. Corapi decided to seek other medical advice and it was found he had perfectly clear arteries. Corapi ultimately went to the FBI and filed the suit that was the basis of an FBI raid and a multi-year investigation into Moon's practice.
The United States Department of Justice reached a settlement with four cardiologists and Tenet Healthcare, the owner of Redding Hospital, during 2005, in part due to Corapi's initial complaint. Three physicians settled for a total of $24 million USD. Moon, the target of Corapi's lawsuit, paid $1.4 million USD and agreed to never perform cardiology procedures or surgeries on Medicare, Medi-Cal or Tricare patients. Moon's medical license was eventually revoked in 2007 for gross negligence, among other charges.
Corapi was awarded $2,712,281 USD for his role as a whistleblower in the False Claims Act Lawsuit as well as the $500,000 USD he and his friend were awarded for the insurance case they filed. His involvement as a whistle-blower in the federal investigation of the practices in the Redding Medical Center played an important role in Stephen Klaidman's non-fiction book Coronary.
Allegations of misconduct
In March 2011, Bishop William Mulvey of Corpus Christi instructed the SOLT religious community to appoint two independent priests to investigate allegations by a former employee that Corapi had been in a relationship with her and was a drug addict.
On March 18, 2011, Corapi was placed on administrative leave by his religious superior, Father Gerald Sheehan. Corapi denied the allegations and said the process was flawed. Sheehan issued a statement emphasizing that the suspension "in no way implies Father Corapi is guilty of the allegation.”
Corapi filed a civil suit against the former employee for libel and breach of contract.
Leaving priestly ministry
On June 17, 2011, Corapi announced that he would no longer engage in public ministry as a priest. On a new website, titled "The Black Sheep Dog", Corapi wrote:
There are certain persons in authority in the Church that want me gone, and I shall be gone...They can't prove I'm guilty of the things alleged because I'm not, and they can't prove I'm innocent because that is simply illogical and impossible...My canon lawyer and my civil lawyers have concluded that I cannot receive a fair and just hearing under the Church's present process. The Church will conclude that I am not cooperating with the process because I refuse to give up all of my civil and human rights in order to hold harmless anyone who chooses to say defamatory and actionable things against me with no downside to them. ... I am, indeed, not ready to be extinguished. Under the name "The Black Sheep Dog," I shall be with you through radio broadcasts and writing. My autobiography, The Black Sheep Dog, is almost ready for publication. My topics will be broader than in the past, and my audience likewise is apt to be broader. I'll do what I can under the circumstances.
On July 5, 2011, Father Gerald Sheehan, Corapi's religious superior in the Society of Our Lady of the Trinity, released a press statement which accused Corapi of drug and alcohol abuse, "sexting", having an affair with a former prostitute and violating his promise of poverty as a perpetually professed member of the society by owning over $1 million in real estate, numerous luxury vehicles, motorcycles, an ATV, a boat dock, and several motor boats. It ended by stating, "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."
On July 7, 2011, Corapi announced that he would not obey Sheehan's order to relocate from Montana and take up residence in a house of the society. According to a Catholic News Service report, he said he would not return to the order, and that he had resigned from the priesthood on June 17, two days short of the 20th anniversary of his ordination.
I resigned 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. As I have indicated from the beginning of all this, I am not extinguished! If I were to commit to the suggestion of the society, then I would essentially crawl under a rock and wait to die.
- The Theology of the Cross in the Magisterium of John Paul II, 1992
- The Cross of Christ in the Magisterium of John Paul II (1978-1992), 1994
- Ever Ancient, Ever New: A Collection of Articles on Various Subjects, 2005
- Letters, 2009
- St. John, Kelly; Martin, Mark (November 10, 2002). "Heart patient's many lives: Redding whistle-blower went from riches to rags to robes". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- Levy, Abe (August 7, 2010). "Father Corapi to speak Saturday at AT&T Center". My San Antonio. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- "Redding Cardiologists Agree to Pay Millions in Settlement" (Press release). Mathias Consulting. November 18, 2005. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- John Corapi (June 17, 2011). "God Love You, God Bless You, and Good-Bye". TheBlackSheepDog.us. Archived from the original on June 23, 2011. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
- "Fr. Corapi's order finds him guilty". Catholic News Agency. July 5, 2011.
- Richert, Scott P. (January 26, 2012). "What Has Happened to Fr. John Corapi?". About.com. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- Stephen Klaidman (2008). Coronary. Simon and Schuster.
- Dios es Misericordia para los mas grandes pecadores - 4/6. YouTube.com. December 5, 2009. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- Retzlaff, Eric (January 3, 2002). "Father John Corapi: From Addict to Evangelist". Our Sunday Visitor.
- Fr. Corapi's Conversion Story - Condensed Version. YouTube.com. December 29, 2007. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- "Catholicism 101 for Adults". St. Andrew Q & A. August 25, 2006. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- "About Father Corapi". Santa Cruz Media. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- "2010 Conference Series". Santa Cruz Media. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
- Chan, Sue (March 5, 2009). "Surgery for Profit?". CBS News. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- "Redding Docs to Pay Millions to Settle False Claims Act Lawsuit". Corporate Crime Reporter. November 15, 2005. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- Catholic News Service (March 21, 2011). "Father Corapi, a popular preacher, put on administrative leave". The Catholic Review. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- Dennis Sadowski (March 28, 2011). "Father Corapi's company says action against priest violates canon law". Catholic News Service.
- Sheehan, Gerard (July 5, 2011). "Press Release Concerning Fr John Corapi from SOLT Regional Priest Servant". Society of Our Lady of the Trinity. Retrieved July 5, 2011.
- Sadowski, Dennis (July 11, 2011). "Corapi: I won't leave Montana to live with order". National Catholic Reporter.