Community Reacts To Sexual Abuse Accusations Against Father Menapace

A church community in disbelief as accusations come out about this retired upper peninsula priest sexually abusing young boys.

The Diocese of Marquette says three people have come forward saying Father James Menapace sexually abused them.

Father Menapace was a priest overseen by the Diocese of Marquette.

He has been removed from all public ministry.

“My first feeling was shock and disbelief. He just didn’t seem like that type of person,” said Bill Munsell, church member.

For more than 40 years Bill Munsell has known Father James Menapace, the retired priest accused of sexually abusing young boys.

“Father Jim was a special priest in our family and married myself and my brother and a number of friends,” said Munsell. “We’ve had contact with him probably since the early 1960’s.”

The reported incidents happened in the 90’s, after Father Menapace retired from active ministry.

“The first allegations came by in 2000 and at that time disciplinary measures were put on him and restrictions were placed on his ministry,” said Loreene Zeno Koskey, Diocese of Marquette Communications Director. “Then once the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002 was approved, he was totally removed from all public priestly ministry.”

After the most recent accusation came out this year, the Bishop wanted the public to know.

“He decided to make the allegations public because his desire to keep children safe and to help victims come forward,” said Zeno Koskey.

“If the allegations come true, I am very sorry for those impacted with whatever he did,” said Munsell.

Since 2002, the Diocese of Marquette has been performing background checks on all people who work for the church.

The diocese says they’ve handed all the information on the allegations over to police.