Ky. Priest Dying of Cancer to Face Abuse Trial
December 17, 2012
A Louisville Catholic priest with terminal cancer is scheduled to go on trial next year to face charges he sexually abused two boys in the 1970s.
Attorneys had delayed the trial back in May because doctors said there was a possibility Rev. James Schook, who has stage four skin cancer, may not live to the end of the year.
On Monday attorneys agreed on a June 24 trial date for Schook to face seven counts of sodomy.
Jefferson County Commonwealth's Attorney John Balliet said after a brief court hearing Monday that he had spoken with a doctor who said it's possible Schook, 65, could live for several more years. Balliet said he also received a letter from Schook's attorney that said Schook's health status remains the same as it had been back in May when the trial was postponed.
Balliet said that made him reevaluate and he decided to move forward and seek a trial date on behalf of the two alleged victims.
One of the men, Michael Stansbury, said he was pleased to hear a trial date has been set but he remains frustrated because he brought his allegations against Schook back in 2008.
"Right now I'm kind of in shock, because the court system I think was hoping he would die so they didn't have to go through it," Stansbury said Monday in a phone interview.
Stansbury said he was molested by Schook in the 1970s when Stansbury was a member of the youth group at St. Thomas More Church in Louisville, where Schook was an assistant pastor. He hesitated for decades to reveal the abuse because Schook knew his family, and even officiated at Stansbury's second wedding.
"I need closure and clarity to it," said Stansbury, who is now 52. "It's devastated my whole life."
The Archdiocese of Louisville barred Schook, most recently the pastor of St. Ignatius Martyr Parish, from public ministry in 2009 after the abuse allegations surfaced. It was the first time Schook, a priest since 1975, had faced abuse allegations, according to the archdiocese.
Schook was permanently removed from ministry in 2010 after an archdiocese review board concluded that there were credible allegations that Schook sexually abused a teenager in 1985.
Schook was indicted on the sodomy charges in June 2011 and is free on a $10,000 bond.