Waukesha pastor charged with sexually assaulting child

By Bruce Vielmetti
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
July 27, 2015

A 72-year-old school bus driver and pastor in Waukesha has been charged with sexually assaulting a child in his church office.

Peter J. Knebel was arrested Sunday after sheriff's officials say he admitted to an offense while under investigation, as well as violations involving other children in the past.

According to the Waukesha County sheriff's office, Knebel was a pastor at the Fox River Christian Church, and drove a school bus for the Waukesha School District since 2009.

Knebel faces a single count of second-degree sexual assault of a child under age 13, which is punishable by up to 40 years in prison upon conviction.

According to the criminal complaint:

A girl told someone that while she was using a computer in the church gym earlier this month, Knebel told her she couldn't use it for games, but could play on the computer in his office. There, while the girl was seated in his lap, Knebel rubbed her breast area with his thumb.

When first confronted by the church's executive director last week, Knebel denied he would do anything like that, but on Friday admitted to the director he had touched the girl improperly. On Saturday, Knebel made similar admissions to a detective, saying he touched the girl for sexual gratification.

Knebel, who was suspended from the church as a result of the investigation, is being held in the Waukesha County Jail on $5,000 bail. He is ordered to have no contact with the victim, the victim's family or anyone under age 18 if he later posts bail.

A preliminary hearing in the case is set for Sept. 3.



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