Priest Sentenced to 15 Years in Jail, Victims Respond
May 30, 2014
A child sex abuse case against a Louisville priest has finally ended. We are glad that this dangerous predator will be behind bars for a long time.
Fr. James R. Schook was indicted in 2011, but his crimes began in the 1970s. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz and Vicar General Brian Reynolds both were aware of allegations against Schook. They even temporarily removed him from his position at St. Ignatius Martyr Church in 2009. Despite these warnings a dangerous predator was allowed to roam free and potentially hurt more children.
Even though Schook will be behind bars for 15 years (which due to terminal cancer could be the remainder of his life) there is more action church officials should take.
Although removed from ministry Schook has not been defrocked. Defrocking him sends a powerful message to other would be abusers that the Vatican will harshly punish child abusers.
We also want to know why Kurtz did at most the bare minimum to protect kids and stop wrong-doing. Other children might have been spared if Kurtz and others who knew or suspected abuse had done the right thing then. Those who enabled Schook should immediately face harsh punishment.
We urge Louisville Catholics - both officials and parishioners- to aggressively seek out anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered crimes by Schook. Kurtz should personally visit every parish where Schook worked and beg victims and witnesses to report to police. He should also post the names, work histories, and photos of all credibly accused clergy. Only then will children begin to be safe.