Assignment Record – Rev. James R. Schook

Summary of Case: A priest of the Louisville archdiocese ordained in 1975, Schook worked as a parish priest and as chaplain for the Catholic Deaf Community. He was placed on leave in July 2009 due to an allegation that he had abused a teenage male in 1985. Four more men subsequently came forward with accusations that they, too, had been molested by Schook, in the 1970s and 1980s. Three of the four said they were children at the time. Schook admitted in 1985 that he had a sexual addiction; he was sent to treatment. Archdiocesan officials stated they thought his problem was with men, not boys. In the mid-1990s he admitted that he had paid a man for sex; he was referred to counseling. After his 2009 suspension Schook was allowed to live in another parish in the archdiocese while he was being investigated; the secretary of that parish complained and was fired. The archdiocese said she was let go due to budget constraints. In June 2011 Schook was indicted on sodomy charges involving two boys in the 1970s. He pleaded not guilty. His trial was delayed numerous times due to claims of ill health. He was convicted in April 2014 for sexually abusing one of the boys in the 1970s and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Ordained
: 1975

   

Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes

1975

Louisville archbishop was Thomas Joseph McDonough (1967-1981).

1980 St. Thomas More

Louisville

• Schook was accused in 2009 by five men of having sexually abused them in the 1970s and 1980s, four of whom said they were children at the time of the abuse. One of them said Schook first abused him when he was 13 years-old in 1971 when Schook was a seminary student, and that the abuse continued for years.

KY

3/3 ,2/2

 

Parish had a school with 263-236 students.
1980 1981 St. Raphael the Archangel Louisville KY 4/4 Parish had a school with 518 students.

1981

Thomas Cajetan Kelly, O.P. succeeded McDonough (1981-2007).

1985 Ascension of Our Lord Louisville KY 2/2

Parish had a school with 408-432 students.

 

1985 1987 St. Lawrence

Louisville

• A man reported in 2009 that Schook molested him as a teenager in 1985.

• A former Trinity High School student said he told a school counselor in 1985 that Schook had sexually abused him during a camping trip, and that Schook abused other teens. The archdiocese said in 2011 they had no record of the allegation.

KY 2/2

Parish had a school with 395-378 students.

Schook admitted to archdiocesan officials in 1985 that he had a sex addiction. He was sent to treatment and allowed to stay in ministry. The archdiocese claimed they thought his problem was with men, not boys.

1987 1988 St. Polycarp Pleasure Ridge Park KY 2/2 Parish had a school with 391 students.  
    The Catholic Deaf Community        
1988 1994 Our Lady of Consolation Valley Station KY 1/1 Parish had a school with 240-150 students.
1994 1999 St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi Payneville KY 1/1 Schook admitted to his superiors in the mid-1990s that he paid a man for sex. He was referred to counseling.
1996 1999 St. Theresa Rhodelia KY 1/3  

1999

Joseph Edward Kurtz replaced Kelly
(2007- ).

July 2009 St. Ignatius Louisville KY 1/1,1/2

Affiliated with the parish was the Thomas Merton Child Development Center, which had 121-77 students. There was also a catechesis program from 2003-2009 with 75-8 students.

Schook was placed on leave in July 2009 after a man came forward with an accusation that Schook molested him when he was a teenager.

July 2009 March 2010 St. Therese Louisville KY  

Schook was allowed to live at St. Therese after his suspension. St. Therese's church secretary complained to the archdiocese that Schook was allowed to roam around unsupervised, including among children, and often wearing shorts, a t-shirt or swim trunks. She said she was subsequently fired. She and her husband sued, saying she was told not to reveal that Schook was living at the parish and to "stay out of it". Her husband had been part of a settlement of those claiming abuse as children in the archdiocese. The man claimed abuse by former St.Therese pastor Edwin Scherzer. Scherzer was convicted in 2005.

The archdiocese removed Schook permanently from ministry in March 2010 after its review board determined that the accusations against him were credible. He was allowed to remain a priest, but was told to live a life of "prayer and penance".

March 2010     Louisville KY  

The archdiocese removed Schook permanently from ministry in March 2010 after its review board determined that the accusations against him were credible. He was allowed to remain a priest, but was told to live a life of "prayer and penance".

Schook was indicted on sodomy charges in June 2011 against two boys in their early teens in the 1970s. He pleaded not guilty.

After numerous delays due to claims of ill health, Schook was convicted April 10, 2014 for sexually abusing an altar boy in the 1970s, beginning when the boy was 13 years-old. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Schook was allowed home incarceration until May 30, for medical reasons.


Sources
: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1976-2009)

St. Ignatius Pastor on Leave after Abuse Claim, By Peter Smith, The Courier-Journal, July 30, 2009
Archdiocese of Louisville Official Statement, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville, July 30, 2009
Priest Removed after Allegations of Sexual Abuse, By Charles Gazaway, WAVE, July 30, 2009
Local Pastor Facing Sexual Abuse Accusations, WHAS, July 30, 2009
Archdiocese Removes Priest after Sex Abuse Allegations, By Mike Petchenik, WLKY, July 30, 2009
More Sexual-misconduct Claims Made against Priest, By Peter Smith, The Courier-Journal, September 13, 2009
More Victims Accuse Local Priest of Sexual Abuse, WHAS, September 15, 2009
Priest Removed from Ministry, Abuse Allegationsare Called Credible, By Peter Smith, Courier-Journal, March 23, 2010
Priest Accused of Abuse Removed from Duties, By Charles Gazaway, WAVE, March 24, 2010
Couple Sues Archdiocese over Sexual Abuse Issue, By Peter Smith, The Courier-Journal, January 27, 2011
Archdiocese Sued by Louisville Couple, WAVE, January 27, 2011
Couple Sues Priests, Church over Firing, WDRB, January 27, 2011
Louisville Couple Suing Archdiocese, WLKY, January 27, 2011
Germantown Couple Dismissed from Volunteer Positions after Suit Filed against Archdiocese, By Charlie White, The Courier-Journal, January 29, 2011
Louisville Couple Claims Retaliation from Former Church, WDRB, January 30, 2011
Couple Adds Priest to Church Lawsuit, By Steve Burgin, WLKY, February 16, 2011
Archdiocese: Louisville Church Wrongly Allowed Rapist to Serve on Parish Board, By Peter Smith, The Courier-Journal, February 16, 2011
Couple Appeal Dismissal of Lawsuit against Louisville Archdiocese, The Courier-Journal, June 21, 2011
Louisville Priest Indicted on Sodomy Charges, WLKY, June 30, 2011
Catholic Priest Indicted on Seven Sodomy Charges, By Peter Smith, The Courier-Journal, June 30, 2011
Louisville Priest Pleads Not Guilty in Teen Sex Abuse Case, By Jason Riley, The Courier-Journal, July 5, 2011
Priest Admitted Sexual Addiction Prior to Abuse Allegations, Records Show, By Jason Riley, The Courier-Journal, August 23, 2011
SNAP Calls for Archdiocese of Louisville to Fire the Chancellor, WHAS, September 8, 2011
Priest, Accused of Abusing Two Boys, Found Competent to Stand Trial, WHAS, November 7, 2013
Predator Priest Can Stand Trial; SNAP Responds, SNAP, November 8, 2013
Former priest sentenced to15 years for sexual abuse, By Janelle MacDonald, WAVE, April 17, 2014
Priest James Schook gets 15 years in sodomy case, by Claire Galofaro, The Courier-Journal, April 17, 2014

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Schook's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on April 17, 2014.

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