Reporting Lisa Fielding
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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (CBS) — A Naperville pastor who testified against Drew Peterson in his murder trial is using his notoriety for a higher purpose.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports, jurors in the Peterson case have said the testimony of the Rev. Neil Schori of Naperville Christian Church was one of the greatest factors in reaching the guilty verdict.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports
“I feel a bit of redemption for me but more for Stacy in my mind that I got to be her mouthpiece and the jurors seem to believe that and that was a huge honor of me,” Schori said.
Schori testified for the prosecution, and told the jury about his conversation with missing Stacy Peterson. Jurors said that led them in large part to return a guilty verdict against Peterson, who was charged with first-degree murder in the bathtub death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004.
Schori says the trial has had a big impact on his life.
“It was stressful for me and my family but now that it’s over, it’s turned into a good stress,” he said.
Schori has always counseled people about domestic violence but since his role in the Peterson case, he says taken his mission to a new level.
“Women are contacting me from all over the nation and they are saying now that I’ve heard about your role with Stacy, I feel safe talking with you so there’s a sort of a community wide, statewide, women all over the country that are saying I want to talk to you because of your involvement in this,” he added.
Schori says in honor of Domestic Violence prevention month, he now is taking his message to the masses.
“Now is the time to act. This is not about this is Neil’s issue or this is someone else’s issue. This is our issue because one in four women are abused by an intimate partner during their lifetime,” he said. “I want to challenge people to turn awareness into action. I want to challenge people to act because this is their issue too. There’s sort of a 9/11 effect here where two weeks after 9/11, after the whole nation was galvanized, there were no Republicans and no Democrats. Then all of a sudden, it was just the same old, same old. I think that if we don’t capitalize on this now, that will happen here too.”
Schori spoke on behalf of Guardian Angel Community Services in Joliet.
A spokeswoman there said they’ve experienced an increase in interest in their services since the Peterson verdict.