Sex Assault Victim Looks Forward to New Chapter in Life

Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers
January 3, 2006

GREEN BAY — David Schauer is relieved to have 2005 over with.

The 28-year-old Green Bay native took the witness stand July 26 to tell the world how a former Catholic priest molested him as a fifth-grader. Schauer took the stand a second time on Sept. 16 to tell a Brown County judge how the assaults by Donald Buzanowski wreaked havoc with his life.

Schauer, who is a semester away from a nursing degree, is looking to 2006 as a year to reinvent himself — without the pressure forced on him by pains of the past. The criminal case was 15 years in the making.

"I'm looking forward to starting my career," Schauer said in a phone interview from his home in Marshfield. "My wife graduated in December and is starting a job as a fourth-grade teacher.

"We're trying to get our life squared away and on track while still certainly dealing with the things we need to."

Appearing in court twice was among the most difficult things he's ever done, Schauer said.

"It wasn't necessarily about validation," Schauer said. "It was really about finally being believed by people who were supposed to be non-biased.

"For me to go through it in the public eye was all so important. I still have a lot of shame, I still have a lot of feeling of self-blame and guilt. I think me being public with all of it was a way of rebelling against my own feelings, saying, 'Look, it wasn't my fault and I'm not ashamed of what happened.'"

Buzanowski is serving a 32-year prison sentence at Dodge Correctional Institution for his conviction on two counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child.

The next years of Schauer's life pose new challenges, some difficult to put into words.

"I am beginning to go to counseling to find out how I can bring more of the person that I want to be out and be more open, less guarded, those types of things, with my relationship with wife and my other family members and the friends who have known me for the last 17 years."


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