John Anthony Corapi (also known as Fr. Corapi) was a popular Catholic lay evangelist who hosted a syndicated daily radio show, wrote instructional media including books and tapes, made frequent speaking appearances, and raised substantial funds through these activities. He also served as a whistleblower in a qui tam False Claims Act case against a California medical center, earning US$2.7 million for his role.
Until he was suspended from ministry this spring, Corapi’s audience numbered in the tens of thousands. In June, Corapi announced that he was leaving the priesthood and would start a new ministry outside Church supervision called Black Sheep Dog, focusing on a broader message to a global audience.
His announcement surprised many of his supporters. It came just months after Corapi had been ordered by his superiors in the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity to remain silent while his order investigated sexual misconduct allegations leveled against him by a former employee.
Corapi’s YouTube message did not explain why he decided to quit the priesthood rather than wait for the results of his order’s investigation. But it did raise questions about his respect for the Catholic hierarchy.
Father Gerard Sheehan, regional priest-servant of SOLT and Corapi’s religious superior in the United States, said on June 19 that the investigation faced complications caused by a civil suit that the priest filed against his accuser. The suit alleges that the former employee signed a contract not to disclose anything about her employment with Santa Cruz Media and that Corapi violated this agreement.