Pewaukee Priest Accused of Groping Teen in Confessional Pleads Not Guilty
By Steven Martinez
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
January 16, 2019
he 61-year-old Pewaukee priest accused of groping a teenage congregant while she was in a confessional with him has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the girl.
The Rev. Chuck Hanel entered his plea Jan. 15 during his arraignment in Waukesha County Circuit Court, court records show. He stands accused of second-degree sexual assault of a child.
A 14-year-old girl reported to police in April that Hanel touched her breast and leg in a confessional at Queen of Apostles Church in December 2017, when she was 13.
She also said in a criminal complaint that when she entered the confessional, Hanel closed the door behind her — something she said he did not do with anyone else, including her father, who entered the confessional before her.
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee placed Hanel on administrative leave earlier this year after the girl's accusation surfaced. He will remain on administrative leave until the charge is resolved.
If convicted, Hanel could face up to 40 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.
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