Sex Offender Relocated Away from Victim's Grandmother
By Scott Cooper Williams and Patti Zarling
Green Bay Press-Gazette
July 17, 2014
A former Catholic priest and convicted sex offender has been relocated from an apartment he rented one block away from his victim's grandmother.
State corrections officials said they were unaware for several months that Donald Buzanowski was living so close to his victim's family.
The situation has prompted Allouez village leaders to consider new local restrictions and neighborhood alert procedures whenever a sex offender seeks to move into the community.
Joy Staab, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections, said Buzanowski was relocated effective Thursday to a state-run facility for criminal offenders on Green Bay's west side.
Staab said the state discovered earlier this month that Buzanowski's apartment at 1320 Hastings St. in Allouez situated him one block away from his victim's grandmother.
"When provided with new information," Staab said, "we evaluate each residency decision in an effort to ensure a sense of safety to victims and their families."
Buzanowski, 71, was convicted in 2005 of felony sexual assault of a child after he molested a fifth-grade boy at a Catholic school. He served seven years in prison and has since struggled to find a place to live without controversy.
His victim, David Schauer, now is an adult living out of state.
Family members complained to Allouez village officials when they realized that Buzanowski had rented an apartment near Schauer's grandmother, Marion Schauer. She wrote a letter to the village asking for help "to have him removed."
Brown County Sheriff's Deputy Rick Loppnow, the village's assigned police officer, said he contacted state corrections officials to alert them to the situation with Buzanowski. Loppnow said he made no request and state officials told him only that they would contact Buzanowski.
"I was just making them aware of it," Loppnow said.
Buzanowski had been living in the Hastings Street duplex since last October.
Staab said state officials became aware of the situation in early July, and Buzanowski cooperated with their decision to relocate him.
Schauer family members expressed gratitude that they no longer must pass the sex offender's residence when they visit Marion Schauer.
"I'm just relieved," said Sandy Schauer, who is David Schauer's aunt. "It was a reminder every time."
According to the state's sex offender registry, Buzanowski now is living in a state-run transitional living facility at 1761 Shawano Ave. in Green Bay. The former motel houses multiple sex offenders and is exempt from Green Bay's limits on offenders moving into the city.
Partly because of the Buzanowski issue, Allouez officials are reviewing local sex offender regulations out of concern that Green Bay's restrictions have made Allouez an alternative for offenders.
The Village Board this week discussed several options to control the number of sex offenders moving into the community. Members plan to discuss ideas with the village attorney in a closed session and to make a final decision later this summer.
The village could adopt a residency rule similar to Green Bay, which restricts where sex offenders can live within most of the city. In Green Bay, a Sex Offender Residency Board allows offenders to appeal for a waiver to live in the city.
Allouez argues many of sex offenders move to the village after they are prohibited from living in Green Bay.
"Each municipality has to bear its fair share," said Village Trustee Randy Gast. "Right now, we're bearing more than our share. We're not going to take other municipalities' castaways."
Village leaders also want to consider an ordinance that would automatically bar any sex offender from living in Allouez after being rejected from living in another area community.
Another option could be to establish density rules, limiting the number of sex offenders in a certain area. Some board members are concerned that restricting the areas sex offenders can live will force too many into too small an area, hurting property values or raising other concerns within those neighborhoods.
Officials also could consider requiring sex offenders to register with the village before moving in.
A Brown County Sheriff's Department representative told the board in June that the number of sex offenders living in Allouez has more than doubled since 2008 — from 12 to 29 — and that 10 new sex offenders have moved into the village in the past year.
Allouez village ordinance prohibits convicted sex offenders from loitering where children gather. But is sets no restrictions on where they can live, other than disallowing them from congregating at an address.
Board members agreed Tuesday to expand notification of sex offenders to neighborhoods, as well as schools and child care providers. They also agreed to include information about sex offenders in the village newsletter and to create a petition encouraging state lawmakers to address sex offender residency rules on a larger scale.
swilliams@pressgazettemedia and follow him on Twitter @pgscottwilliams.