Archdiocese calls accusations credible of sex abuse by pastor

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WHAS11.com

Posted on March 23, 2010 at 9:46 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 13 at 4:35 PM

The Archdiocese of Louisville says accusations of sexual abuse by a long-time priest are credible.

James Schook was most recently Pastor at Saint Ignatius Martyr Parish on Rangeland Road.

He was placed on leave after one accusation last summer and then 4 more men came forward and said Schook had abused them when they were young.

Tuesday night, the archdiocese said Schook may never publicly present himself as a priest again and cannot have unsupervised contact with minors.

Advocates for abuse victims say the archdiocese response is a step forward.

Jeff Koenig of SNAP said, "It's painful to hear about it, but it's going to go on no matter what.  But I think that the incident here with how the process worked is a good sign that things are chaning for the better, but it is painful to hear."

The Archdiocese says they notified police of the abuse allegations and that there are no reports of abuse at Saint Ignatius.

Father Schook has served in the following parishes or ministries:

St. Thomas More, St. Raphael, Ascension, St. Lawrence, St. Polycarp (now St. Peter the Apostle), the Catholic Deaf Community, Our Lady of Consolation (now St. Peter the Apostle), St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi Parish in Payneville, Ky., St. Theresa Parish in Rhodelia, Ky., and St. Ignatius Martyr.

The Archdiocese issued this statement:

“In January the Review Board met and completed its review of Fr. Jim Schook’s case.  After careful study, the Review Board determined that the accusations are credible, and they recommended a life of prayer and penance for Fr. Schook.

Archbishop Kurtz accepted this recommendation.

Under a life of prayer and penance as outlined in the Charter, Fr. Schook may not celebrate Mass publicly or administer the sacraments. 

He may not wear clerical garb or present himself publicly as a priest, and he will be directed not to have any unsupervised contact with minors. 

This information was communicated to the parish and in February.

We asked for clarification on if action would be taken by the Vatican to remove Schook from the priesthood. 

This is the Archdiocese response:

“There are two consequences when a priest has been credibly accused of sexual abuse. 

The priest can be directed to lead a life of prayer and penance or the Holy See (the Vatican) can remove him permanently from the priesthood. 

The penalty of prayer and penance is usually used in cases of age and infirmity; this is the recommendation that the Review Board made--and Archbishop Kurtz accepted--in the case of Fr. Schook.

Under this directive, however, Fr. Schook may not celebrate Mass publicly or administer the sacraments. 

He may not wear clerical garb or present himself publicly as a priest, and he will be directed not to have any unsupervised contact with minors. “

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