Jury finds fmr. Catholic priest guilty in sex abuse case

April 16, 2014

[with video]

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – A jury found a former Catholic priest, James Schook, guilty of three counts of sodomy and one count of indecent and immoral practices.

The jury heard closing arguments in the James Schook trial on Wednesday, April 16 and started deliberating the case at about 2:00 p.m.

Schook faced charges involving the sexual abuse of teenage boys back in the 1970s.

It was a short day in court Wednesday morning. The judge told the jury early on the prosecution expected to rest their case on Wednesday. Only one witness took the stand and the defense did not call anyone on their behalf.

The final witness to testify in this sexual abuse trial was LMPD Detective Rebecca Sanders.  The Commonwealth questioned her about interviews and statements she took back when one of the alleged victims came forward.

Only a handful of witnesses testified in this case against Schook.  His two accusers both took the stand on Tuesday, April 15, which was the first full day of trial.

Schook was in seminary school studying to become a Catholic priest when according to two men the alleged sexual abuse started. They said they were in their teens back in the ‘70s when the abuse occurred.

The defense is questioning why it took so long to report the alleged abuse and also saying motivation here is money.

However, the victims were happy with the outcome of the trial, but await the sentencing phase to see how much time Schook will get for his crimes.

"The jury's done a good job,” Michael Stansbury, a victim, said.  “Even though some things did not turn out quite the way I expected.  But he is now a known criminal."

The 65-year-old fmr. Priest showed little emotion during the verdict’s reading.

"I was elated that finally he is going to be put in captivity or some kind of circumstances where he's not going to be able to run the streets freely,” Stansbury said.

The jurors will return on Thursday, April 17, for sentencing.


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