Priest Charged with Sexual Assault

By Tom Heinen
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [Wisconsin]
October 27, 2004

Father Donald Buzanowski, a suspended Green Bay priest who has been living in Milwaukee for years, has been charged in Brown County with sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy there during counseling sessions in 1988.

Buzanowski, 62, was arrested Monday on two counts of first-degree sexual assault and had an initial court appearance Tuesday. Brown County Court Commissioner Lawrence Gazeley set a $100,000 cash bail and continued the hearing to Nov. 2.

"I'm very pleased," said David Schauer, 26, the Marshfield man who made the allegation against Buzanowski. "It's something that I've been waiting about 16 years for." Schauer first made the allegations in 1990 but no charges were filed.

Buzanowski served 21 months in prison after being convicted of child pornography possession in 2000. In 2002, he wrote in a letter to the pastor of a Milwaukee Protestant church where he had been helping out that he had molested 14 boys elsewhere from 1969 to 1988, according to the criminal complaint and a 2003 Journal Sentinel story.

Brown County District Attorney John Zakowski, who was in office in 1990, said the allegations were not doubted but there was not enough evidence to prove them beyond a reasonable doubt back then.

The criminal complaint now contains more detailed allegations by Schauer and similar allegations against the priest that a man made to the Diocese of Green Bay this year. That all made prosecution possible, Zakowski said.

Although the statute of limitations in 1988 required a victim to come forward within six years, the Legislature has extended that period to charges being filed before a victim reaches age 30, Zakowski said. Charges could be filed in this case because of a 2003 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision, which said if a victim had not yet reached the maximum age before a statute of limitations was changed, the new maximum age would apply, he said.


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