Man Tells of Abuse; Ex-Priest at Green Bay Ordered to Trial

The Associated Press, carried in Duluth News Tribune [Green Bay WI]
December 2, 2004

GREEN BAY, Wis. - A witness testified Thursday that he was molested as a 10-year-old boy by a priest who counseled children at a Catholic school in Green Bay.

The testimony came at the preliminary hearing in Brown County Circuit Court for Donald Buzanowski, 61, who served as a priest at Ss. Peter and Paul School at the time of the alleged offenses in fall of 1988.

After testimony from the witness, a court commissioner ordered that the case proceed to arraignment Jan. 10, when Buzanowski could enter a plea to the charges against him - two counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child.

The alleged victim, David Schauer, of Marshfield, has also filed a civil lawsuit against Buzanowski and the Green Bay Diocese.

Schauer testified Thursday that he was in an office alone with Buzanowski six times during counseling sessions because he was having trouble making friends after transferring from another Green Bay school during the previous school year.

He said he had been an altar boy and was teased by other children for wanting to be a priest.

He said Buzanowski inappropriately touched him over his clothes during two sessions. Once he was spanked and at the end of a third session Buzanowski hugged him and kissed him on the lips, he said.

He also said he brought friends to two of the counseling sessions, and Buzanowski never touched him inappropriately while his schoolmates were in the same room. But at one session, he said, Buzanowski dismissed his schoolmate and then sexually assaulted him when they were alone.

Defense lawyer Owen Monfils asked why he never challenged Buzanowski after the alleged assaults.

"I was pretty numb," he replied. "I didn't know what was coming. I didn't know what to expect.

"There were periods of time where Don would be happy and goofing off, and there were other periods of time when he was serious. And I was confused ... I didn't know what to think," he said.

The allegations were reported to Green Bay police in 1990 but prosecutors decided not to file charges, records show.

The complaint said Buzanowski was placed on administrative leave by then-Bishop Adam Maida in May 1989, and he was convicted in Milwaukee on a federal charge of possessing child pornography in 2000 and served 21 months in prison.

The complaint also notes that Buzanowski wrote to a Milwaukee minister in August 2002, as he was preparing for his release from prison, and said in the letter that he molested 14 boys over the years of 1969-88.

Outside of court Thursday, Judith Schauer said she was anxious and optimistic as her son's story was being told, even though testifying was difficult for him.

"When I looked at my son today in that courtroom, I saw my 10-year-old boy, and how he's doing it, I don't know, but by the grace of God we will see this come to an end," she said.

Buzanowski remained jailed on $100,000 bond.


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