Waukesha pastor, school bus driver accused of sexual assault of child

By Christina Palladino
July 27, 2015

[with video]

WAUKESHA, Wis. —A Waukesha man who worked as a pastor and a school bus driver has been arrested, accused of first-degree sexual assault of a child.Peter J. Knebel, 72, was an associate pastor at Fox River Christian Church in Waukesha, mostly making hospital rounds and planning funerals. 

According to the criminal complaint, Knebel called a child into his office at the church last week and told her she could sit on his lap and play on his computer.

While she was on his lap, police said Knebel moved his hands from her stomach up over her chest.

After about 30 seconds the girl ran out of his office and told an adult who reported it to the head pastor.

When confronted, Knebel initially denied the assault but later told investigators, "I did what we talked about" and "I knew I touched her there.”

Executive Pastor Mark Roberts, said Knebel was not assigned to deal with children.

"I was sickened to what I heard and my responsibility is to report to the authorities and that's what I did,” Roberts said.

Knebel has been suspended from the church.

Knebel was also a full-time bus driver with First Student, a bus company that operates within the Waukesha School District. After six years, he apparently left the job on his own accord last month.

The school superintendent told WISN 12 News, "We have no information that would tie this alleged incident to any of our students."

The Waukesha County Sheriff's Department said Knebel admitted to committing "other violations against other children in the past."

He is in custody at the Waukesha County Jail. 

"Our main concern with it is his position within the community as a school bus driver, as well as a pastor at this church, is that there are most likely other incidents that occurred at this church we are not aware of,” Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Patrick Esser said.


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