The former Venable Elementary School teacher who pleaded guilty earlier this year to a single count of online coercion and enticement of a minor and was sentenced to serve 10 years in federal prison with no chance of parole was permitted to move home with his wife and two children after a judge agreed to revise the conditions of his bond.
Corey Schock had originally been ordered to stay with his parents in Allentown, Pennsylvania, as a condition of his bond. But since his August 29 sentencing, according to court records, he has been residing at his home in the Greenbrier neighborhood until the Federal Bureau of Prisons notifies him to report to prison to begin serving his decade-long sentence, which his defense team calls “draconian, wildly expensive” and serving “no valid purpose.”
According to a defense motion filed August 26 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, prosecutors’ decision to transfer the case against Schock from the state to the federal system resulted in a drastic increase in the length of his prison sentence. Schock was initially charged at the state level with possession of child pornography and the use of a computer to facilitate a crime for his electronic interactions with a 15-year-old Northern Virginia girl with whom he exchanged numerous sexually explicit texts and images. Had he been convicted of those state charges, the motion argues, the recommended sentence would have been just three months.
The 44-year-old married father of two daughters was a beloved fourth grade teacher at the school, and the charges and his subsequent conviction stunned families of his current and former students. The defense motion ascribes Schock’s criminal behavior to untreated depression, points out he made no attempt to have physical contact with the victim, and states that a psychological assessment found him a “very low risk” to reoffend. More than two dozen people penned letters in support of Schock, requesting sentencing leniency from the judge.
Former Venable principal Ron Broadbent, who hired Schock and is now retired, wrote that even knowing of the charges against Schock, he would request that Schock teach his own daughter if she were going into fourth grade.
“That is how well I feel I know this man,” he wrote.
Former UVA Architecture professor Daniel Bluestone and his wife also weighed in, questioning the length of the sentence.
“It is so very sad that some weakness or sickness has delivered Corey Schock to your courtroom,” they wrote. “However, this man has a good heart and enormous gifts that he can, and should, continue to offer to society. Prison is not likely the place that will allow him to again be a good father and a good citizen.”
While the glowing character references may have convinced the judge to amend the bond conditions, there is little leeway in sentencing at the federal level, said
C-VILLE legal analyst David Heilberg, who doubted the defense request for an amended sentence would be granted.
“Grounds to get this relief don’t seem present here, and it’s hard to see how someone with these charges could qualify except in extraordinary circumstances,” said Heilberg, noting that, unlike in Virginia state courts, there are no suspended sentences in federal cases.
Schock, who will serve out his sentence at the minimum security facility in Butner, North Carolina, did not respond to a message requesting comment. A call to the Bureau of Prisons requesting Schock’s reporting date was not returned by press time.
Correction: Architecture professor Daniel Bluestone is no longer at UVA; he is now director of the Preservation Studies Program at Boston University.