Pennsylvania Christian Facility Worker, James Zook, Sentenced to 28 Years in Prison for Sexually Abusing 14 Patients with Disabilities

Pennsylvania Christian Facility Worker, James Zook, Sentenced to 28 Years in Prison for Sexually Abusing 14 Patients with Disabilities

After a protracted legal battle spanning over a decade, justice has been served in the case of James Zook, a former employee of Faith Friendship Villa in West Hempfield Township.

The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office announced the conclusion of the case following a sentencing hearing on Thursday, where Zook, now 69 years old, was handed a minimum sentence of 13 years and 9 months in prison, with a maximum of 28 years, for the sexual assault of 14 residents at the care home.

Court records reveal a troubling narrative of abuse perpetrated by Zook, who had worked at the non-profit personal care home for approximately 20 years. Throughout the trial, testimony from both residents and staff of Friendship Villa shed light on the heinous acts committed by Zook against vulnerable individuals under his care.

Presiding over the case, Judge Reinaker expressed the profound impact of Zook’s actions on the victims, stating, “It’s clear to me the deep and long-lasting consequences each victim will continue to suffer from.” The judge’s remarks underscored the severity of the crimes and the lasting trauma inflicted upon the survivors.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, all of Zook’s victims were either physically or intellectually disabled, with many of them considering him a trusted friend. This betrayal of trust makes the crimes all the more egregious, as vulnerable individuals rely on Zook for care and support, only to be exploited for his gratification.

The case first came to light on August 14, 2022, with the initial report of Zook’s abuse. Following an extensive investigation, Zook was arrested on November 7, 2022, culminating in a lengthy legal process that has finally reached its conclusion with his sentencing.

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