Judge Sentences Rev. James Schook to 15 Years in Prison for Sexual Abuse
May 30, 2014
A Louisville priest convicted of sexually abusing two teenage boys in the 1970s has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.
A jury convicted the Rev. James Schook of three counts of sodomy and one count of indecent and immoral behavior with an individual in April and recommended the 15-year sentence, which the judge upheld.
Schook could have received a 25-year sentence. He has been free on home incarceration since the trial.
But even during the sentencing Friday morning, his attorney was trying to keep Schook out of prison.
Schook suffers from terminal cancer, and again used a walker to go face the judge.
His attorney, David Lambertus, asked Judge Mitch Perry to sentence Schook to probation instead of prison time, citing his age, 66, and ill health.
"Again, there's absolutely no way you can ever say he is threat, a danger, that he'll flee the jurisdiction or anything else," Lambertus told the judge.
But Perry rejected that, and imposed the sentence recommended by the jury - a total of 15 years behind bars.
"This court believes you've been spared the consequences of your acts, going back almost 40 years, and it cannot go unnoticed in all of the reports to the court that you've simply refused to take responsibility for these matters," said Judge Perry.
Schook has been on house arrest, but this time, he was taken immediately into custody. Something his victims had been waiting to see.
"It felt very good to see him finally led away instead of always walking out of the courtroom. So, that did give me a sigh of relief," said Michael Stansbury.
"I think that this is a wonderful vindication of the courage that they showed to come forward and present their claims. This is a happy day for them, and I'm. happy for them," said prosecutor John Balliet.
In a statement, the Archdiocese of Louisville said its important that those who have abused children face the consequence of their actions.
The Archdiocese went on to say, it is "committed to preventing the sexual abuse of minors through training and education and to reaching out to victims of sexual abuse."
But Stansbury says that has not happened.
"The Catholic church has not even approached the other victim and myself even about, 'What can we do for you?'" said Stansbury.
Lambertus plans to appeal, but said nothing as he left the courtroom, and Schook went to jail.
"Yes, it is a long battle. But it is one less person to worry about on the streets," said Stansbury.
Technically, Schook is still a priest, though the Archdiocese has removed him from public ministry.
It's now up to the Vatican to defrock him.