Priest sentenced to 15 years in prison

Father James Schook, who was convicted on April 16 on three counts of sodomy and one count of indecent or immoral practice, was sentenced May 30 to 15 years in prison.

The Archdiocese of Louisville removed Father Schook from public ministry in 2010 after allegations that he molested teenage boys in the 1970s were determined to be credible.

A statement from the Archdiocese of Louisville, released May 30, acknowledged the sentencing.

“For the sake of victims and our community, it is important for those who have abused children to face the consequence of their actions as has happened with the conviction and sentencing of Fr. James Schook,” the statement said.

Father Schook’s status as a priest will now be determined by the Holy See, the statement explained. Currently, he is under direction from Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz to “lead a life of prayer and penance.”

“Now that these criminal proceedings have been concluded and the sentencing is complete, the archdiocese will forward a report to the Holy See for a final determination of Fr. Schook’s status.”

During sentencing, Father Schook appealed to the judge for leniency, asking for probation rather than prison time because he is ill, according to a report published by the Courier-Journal. The newspaper reported that Father Schook has been diagnosed with end-stage melanoma.

That story quoted Circuit Judge Mitch Perry as saying, “This court believes you’ve been spared the consequences of your acts going back almost 40 years. It cannot go unnoticed, in all the reports to the court, you simply have refused to take responsibility for these matters.”

The Archdiocese of Louisville is encouraging victims of sexual abuse to contact the archdiocese’s victim assistance coordinator, Martine Siegel, at 636-1044 or victimassistance@archlou.org.

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