KY- Priest sentenced to 15 years in jail, Victims respond
For immediate release: Friday, May 30, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
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.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.