Pewaukee priest once accused of sexual assault of a minor free to return to church

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

August 1, 2020

By Elliot Hughes

A Pewaukee priest whose sexual assault of a minor case ended with a mistrial and then dropped charges is being allowed to return to work at his church, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee announced Saturday.

The announcement comes after the archdiocese says it completed its own investigation into the allegations against the Rev. Charles Hanel, 63, and determined they were unsubstantiated and false. He will be restored to the ministry effective Monday and will be allowed to resume his role of pastor at Queen of Apostles Church in Pewaukee.

Hanel was charged with second-degree sexual assault of a then-13-year-old girl in a church confessional in December 2017. In March 2020, Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Maxwell declared a mistrial after it became public that the girl’s mother is an undocumented immigrant trying to gain legal status to stay in the U.S.

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