Zook sentenced to 28 years for child molestation

A Bethel Village man who admitted molesting two young girls — each for about seven years — has been sentenced to 28 years in prison, the maximum allowed by law.

John Lee Zook, 56, who had lived just outside of Columbus until he was jailed in December, will serve up to 18 years in prison followed by 10 years on probation as a registered sex offender, Bartholomew Circuit Court Judge Stephen Heimann ruled.

During a three-hour sentencing hearing Thursday, prepared statements written by both victims were read in court, including one from a woman now in her early 20s who Zook admitted repeatedly molesting starting when she was 6 through age 13.

“I am ashamed of who I am, of my own body,” the woman wrote. “I was mocked and betrayed in the worst way. I feel unloved and abandoned by God.”

For more on this story, see Saturday’s Republic.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.