Bishop James Rausch – Diocese of Phoenix

Bishop James Rausch

Diocese of Phoenix

Ordained: 1956

Died: 1981

Assigned as follows:

  • 1956-1957       St. Mary’s Cathedral (St. Cloud, MN)
  • 1957-1967       Holy Angels (St. Cloud, MN)
  • 1957-1967       Cathedral High School (St. Cloud, MN) 
  • 1967-1968       On Duty Outside the Diocese; Casa Santa Maria (Rome, Italy)
  • 1968-1972       On Duty Outside the Diocese; United States Catholic Conference (Washington, DC) 
  • 1972-1977       United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (Washington, DC) 
  • 1977-1981       Bishop of Phoenix (Phoenix, AZ)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Bishop James Rausch :

Bishop James Rausch, former Secretary General of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB), was ordained in the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota. He was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of St. Cloud in 1973, and appointed Bishop of Phoenix in 1977, where he served until his sudden death of a heart attack in 1981. 

According to media reports, in November 2001, as part of a civil lawsuit involving the Diocese of Tucson, a man alleged he was involved in a sexual relationship with Monsignor Robert Trupia and another priest as an 18-year-old. He also alleged that Bishop Rausch had sexually abused him when he was 17 years old in 1979. 

His accuser, who is said to have had incriminating photographs of Bishop Rausch, said he first encountered him when the bishop offered him a ride in his car. The accuser said Bishop Rausch offered him money for sex, and that the bishop said his name was “Paul”. The exchange of sex for money is said to have occurred on several occasions over a few months, during which time the boy was becoming addicted to heroin. 

His accuser claimed that Bishop Rausch then “passed him on” to two other priests. Bishop Rausch is said to have referred the boy to either Monsignor Robert Trupia or Father William T. Byrne for drug counseling. Both were priests of the Diocese of Tucson, who also abused him. The boy was later given a chancery job to ensure his silence.

When confronted by church officials in 1992 with an accusation against him, Monsignor Trupia threatened to publicly expose scandalous information about Bishop Rausch and the young man

The case was settled in 2002.

Court records and interviews with victims indicate Bishop Rausch and Bishop O’Brien worked closely with the Diocese of Phoenix’s attorneys to keep many allegations from becoming public by negotiating confidential settlements, appealing to families to protect the image of the church and promising to remove known molesters. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Phoenix.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Phoenix, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Phoenix now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.