|Alleged Victim Testifies at Spanking Trial
By Erin Calandriello
The Courier News
March 17, 2009
ST. CHARLES — In a case that began three years ago, an Elgin pastor criminally charged for allegedly spanking a 12-year-old female parishioner went on trial Tuesday.
The Rev. Daryl P. Bujak, 32, of the First Missionary Baptist Church, 385 Silver St., is charged with two misdemeanor counts of battery and one misdemeanor count of failure to report suspected sexual abuse. He has been free on bond since his arrest.
Witnesses testifying on the first day of the bench trial before 16th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Allan Anderson included the alleged victim, now 16, and her mother, who live in Richmond.
Here is a summary of Tuesday's proceedings:
The victim's stepfather, Matthew Resh, and her mother met with Bujak in March 2005 at his office at the church, explaining that the victim was "disobedient" and had accused her stepfather of trying to have sex with her, the mother testified.
At that first meeting, the mother told Bujak that the victim had a history of lying and disobeying.
Bujak, according to both the victim and her mother, then met with the victim alone.
The victim said that Bujak questioned her credibility and told her that "he didn't have to report it because nothing had gone on."
After two hours of what she described as "grilling," the victim testified that she recanted her sexual abuse accusations for fear of further consequences from her stepfather.
Afterward, the victim testified that Bujak told her "he'd spank her as he saw fit" with the permission of her parents.
The mother testified that she and her husband gave Bujak permission for "corporal punishment." She said that both Matthew Resh and herself would spank Cassie at home if she was disobedient.
Between March 2005 and May 2005, the girl and her mother met several times with Bujak for counseling, the two testified.
The victim testified that Bujak made her bend over and grab her ankles while she was wearing a skirt and shirt, and then he'd spank her anywhere from 15 to 25 times with a large piece of wood molding, leaving marks on her legs and buttocks.
After Matthew Resh left the mother in October 2005, the victim told her mother more details about the alleged sexual abuse, including her stepfather "sucking her toes," the mother testified. That prompted her to contact Bujak in late October and tell him "I think I need to go to the police."
She said that Bujak told her to "just wait" and "not mention the spanking. They (authorities) are not going to understand it; we're following the Bible."
Bujak and the mother eventually told Richmond police and the Department of Children and Family Services about the victim's allegations of sexual abuse by her stepfather.
But it wasn't until April 2006 that the mother and the victim went to the Elgin police and DCFS to file a report about Bujak's alleged spanking. Bujak then was charged.
Bujak's attorney, Ross Bartolotta, argued Tuesday that corporal punishment "is not a crime when you have parental consent" and that after "explicit information came out" about the purported sexual abuse on October 2005, his client "abided by his responsibilities and went to authorities."
The trial continues at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
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