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Shook fails to orchestrate exoneration

Former Riverside High School band and choir director John “Tim” Shook could not orchestrate his way out of legal problems Friday as a jury found him guilty of 12 of 13 counts.

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John “Tim” Shook, left, stares ahead Friday as guilty verdicts were read aloud for 12 of 13 charges. He faces sentencing Dec. 9. (EXAMINER PHOTO | JOEL E. MAST)

It took the jury about two hours to reach guilty verdicts on six counts of sexual battery, one count of attempted sexual battery and five counts of gross sexual imposition.

The 35-year-old former Riverside High School band and choir director  was acquitted of one count of attempted sexual battery.

Afterward, two of the victims hugged each other and supporters.

“You’re a brave girl,” one supporter said to the first girl to come forward with abuse allegations.

A third victim did not attend the court proceeding.

“This was the right outcome,” said Logan County Prosecutor William T. Goslee after the verdict. “Justice was well served today.”

While Mr. Shook’s attorney Kristin Burkett presented a professional defense, Mr. Goslee said, “I don’t think they had a lot to work with.

“It was difficult to accept their defense that nothing happened in the face of five victims coming forward saying these things did happen.”

Mr. Goslee and Chief Assistant Prosecutor Eric Stewart jointly worked the case since mid-February after the first allegations surfaced.

On Feb. 4, Logan County Sheriff’s deputies began investigating Mr. Shook for paddling the eldest victim during a band class and in front of other students. He also earlier that day appeared before his choir class wearing tight swimming trunks.

Mr. Goslee noted that at first there appeared to be no criminal conduct. But then the first victim stepped forward and reported sexual conduct with the band director.

Then a second girl, a freshmen, reported instances in which she was fondled by the defendant.

Early on, the two girls agreed to take polygraphs which “they passed with flying colors,” Mr. Stewart said.

Mr. Goslee said, that even though polygraphs are not admissible evidence in a trial, the tests are tools to help guide case development.

A third girl, also a freshman, came forth with fondling allegations by late March.

Mr. Goslee and Mr. Stewart presented testimony from those victims that Mr. Shook abused them in the school, in his car and in his home.

They also compelled two Covington High School graduates to testify. Both women, now in their mid-20s said they had sex with the defendant while he was a band and choir director there in 2005.

Ms. Burkett for her part tried to cast doubt on the authenticity of one victim’s journal, entries that gave explicit details of her trysts with the defendant.

The defense attorney also tried to imply it was an elaborate scheme to get her client in trouble.

In his closing arguments, Mr. Stewart noted those five victims gained nothing from coming forward with the abuse charges.

“This isn’t just a case of ‘he said/she said,’” the attorney said. “This is a case of ‘he said/they said.’

“It took a lot of courage for them to speak up. That’s why some victims say nothing until their adults. Some victims go to their graves without telling anyone.”

Mr. Goslee believes there may be more victims, especially in Miami County.

“I would tell them, ‘Come forward. You are believable.’” he said. “I would encourage any victim from Miami County to go to the sheriff and the prosecutor and tell them what you know.”

The jury foreman said the panel reached a decision once they were able to replace a reluctant female juror with a male alternate, changing the ratio to four men and eight women

He said it helped to talk out the evidence and consensus was reached without rancor.

Logan County Common Pleas Judge Mark S. O’Connor ordered the defendant jailed without bond until sentencing on Dec. 9.

The defendant faces a maximum of 39 years in prison.

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