Minister in Spanking Case: Alleged Victim Testifies about Beatings

By Clifford Ward and John Keilman
Chicago Tribune
March 18, 2009,0,7597698.story

Girl says Elgin pastor didn't believe her when she said she was sexually abused, and he often hit her with strip of crown molding

Rev. Daryl Bujak didn't believe the girl when she said she had been sexually abused, and he wanted to cure her rebellious at-home behavior. So week after week, when her mother brought her in for counseling, he allegedly punished her with a bruising spanking.

"He didn't want me to grow up and become a liar and go to hell," the girl told a Kane County judge Tuesday, describing what she said happened in 2005.

Authorities believe she was telling the truth and later arrested Matthew Resh of Ingleside, who is charged with five counts of predatory criminal sexual assault.

Bujak is accused of battery for allegedly beating the girl, who was 12 at the time, with a piece of crown molding during their weekly counseling sessions at First Missionary Baptist Church in Elgin.

The girl, now 16, took the witness stand Tuesday and described nearly ritualistic spankings during her meetings with the pastor. She said the number of blows depended on her mother's account of how she had behaved at home that week.

"Fifteen [blows] was a good week," she said.

The spankings raised painful welts, the girl said, and her backside became so sore she had to sit on her hands during the church service.

The girl's parents brought her to Bujak, their pastor, in March 2005 after she gave her mother a note vaguely describing alleged sexual abuse. The mother testified she did not believe her and shared that view with Bujak.

The girl said she met privately with the pastor, who questioned her sharply. After two hours, she said, she decided to end the interrogation by falsely saying she had made up the story.

But her mother agreed to keep bringing her back, hoping to improve her conduct. She told the judge she knew corporal punishment would be part of the routine.

Bujak's attorney, Ross Bartolotta, did not dispute the spankings but argued that the pastor was simply disciplining the girl with the full knowledge of her parents. He added that Bujak, also charged with failing to report sexual abuse, could hardly be expected to believe her story when her own mother did not.

After the mother had grown to believe her daughter's allegations, the pastor accompanied them to the police station in far north suburban Richmond.

Resh awaits a July trial.

Bujak's trial is expected to conclude Wednesday.

Clifford Ward is a freelance reporter. John Keilman is a Tribune reporter.



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