Jury recommends 15 years for Schook

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A jury has recommended a 15-year-sentence for a Louisville priest convicted of sexual abuse.

But James Schook will not be going to jail right away. The judge decided to keep Schook on home incarceration until he's formally sentenced next month.

The jury on Wednesday convicted Schook of three counts of sodomy and one count of indecent and immoral behavior with an individual.

The charges date back to the early 70s when Schook had a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old-boy.

Schook could have received as much as 25 years behind bars.

During his closing argument, the defense asked the jury to consider that Schook has terminal cancer when recommending a sentence.

"We're talking about time in somebody's life. I think it's fair to say, what life is left there. At some point, a small amount is actually a large amount," David Lambertus told jurors.

But prosecutor John Balliet asked jurors to think of how long Schook's victim has suffered.

"He has lived the effects of what happened to him for 44 years," said Balliet.

The jury took about two hours to decide on a sentence of two years on each of the three sodomy counts and 9 years for immoral behavior.

The prosecutor called the sentence "appropriate."

"There's nothing about the cancer, and there's nothing about his health that has any kind of effect in terms of the seriousness of what he did," Balliet told reporters.

But Schook was not taken to jail. Judge Mitch Perry decided to keep Schook on home incarceration until the formal sentencing on May 30th.

"There probably are a lot reasons that go into why it would be difficult for a jail to deal with him in terms of medications and observations, and things of that nature. It almost becomes more of a medical decision," said Balliet.

Schook's attorney would not comment as he left the courtroom.

Schook is still a priest, but the Archdiocese removed him from public ministry in 2010. His final status in the church will be up to the Vatican.

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