Louisville Catholic priest, facing sex charges, dying of skin cancer

WHAS-11, Kentucky/June 13, 2012

Louisville -- The trial of a Louisville priest accused of molesting two teenage boys has been delayed because doctors say the priest is dying.

Malignant melanoma -those two words have stalled a court battle that spent years in the making. A doctor's letter filed in court confirms that Father James Schook is dying of stage four skin cancer.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP spokesman Cal Pfiefer said, "I hate that he's going through that. Absolutely. But, again, if that was me and I was innocent, I'd want to defend myself while I'm still alive."

Schook, the former pastor of St. Ignatius Martyr Church, is accused of sexually abusing two teenage boys in the '70s. He's facing seven charges of sodomy. Pfiefer has been in contact with one of Schook's alleged victims who is reeling from the news of yet another setback.

"There's a lot of frustration," explained Pfiefer, "They've been waiting for years for this. And, this isn't the first delay, this is the third delay."

The trial was set to begin last month. Jefferson County Commonwealth's Attorney John Balliet told SNAP that Schook may face trial in December if he is in better health. Pfiefer says he doesn't believe that day will ever come.

"It's obvious, patently obvious, that this is a delay technique so that, in six months, he's not going to be any better according to the doctor and it's strictly a delay technique so that they have one less convicted priest as part of their clergy," claimed Pfiefer.

The first claims of sexual abuse against Schook were received in 2009. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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