Priest convicted of sex abuse set for release
A former priest convicted of molesting boys will walk out of prison Saturday to the shock of his victims.
Robert Schaeufele pleaded guilty in 2003.
“It’s like a bomb dropped at your feet,” said Chris McCafferty, one of his victims.
McCafferty put this day out of his mind because he thought it wouldn’t come for another 13 ½ years.
But a legal technicality will allow the former priest who admitted to sexually abusing McCafferty and other children will walk out of prison.
Schaeufele served just 12 years of a 30 year sentence he received after pleading guilty in a Pinellas County courtroom.
“They said he was going to serve 85 percent of his term,” McCafferty said. “That is what the state attorney said.”
McCafferty feels the justice system lied to him. Since learning from his attorney that Schaeufele will get out Saturday, the nightmares that plagued McCafferty as a teenager returned.
State law passed in 1998 mandates a criminal serve 85 percent of a sentence following a guilty plea. Schaeufele pleaded guilty to crimes that happened in 1983 and 1985, before the law existed. Therefore he walks out of prison for good behavior on Valentine’s Day, resurfacing the rage that McCafferty held in check for so many years.
His response when asked if he’s glad the former priest plans to move out of state: “I would shoot him…mentally…I’m… I’m…”
He’s trying to cope with all the emotions resurfacing.
McCafferty added, “We were all let down. It’s not just us victim’s. You were let down. Our system is supposed to work for everybody and it doesn’t.”
Over the years McCafferty’s family and church helped him through the hard times. They are helping him now.
The Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg said it has a counselor on hand for the former priest’s victims if they need help during this time. The church said Schaeufele has not been a priest since 2005.