Judge: Law requires clergy to report sex abuse

My thanks to The Courier News for this news story.

ELGIN — A judge decided Friday that an Elgin pastor’s status as a clergyman would not legally excuse him from failing to report the suspected sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl, which authorities have charged him with.

The Rev. Daryl P. Bujak, 30, of the First Missionary Baptist Church, 385 Silver St., also is accused of spanking the girl on several occasions because he believed she was lying about being abused by her stepfather. The stepfather since has been charged in connection with the alleged assaults.

In Elgin Branch Court Friday, Judge Susan Clancy Boles denied a defense motion to dismiss one misdemeanor charge of failing to report a suspected sexual abuse, ruling that Bujak had not met his burden of proof to establish the legally recognized principle of confidentiality between a clergy member and an individual member of the congregation. His lawyer argued that clergyman’s privilege — which cannot be waived, he said — precluded him from telling anyone what the girl had told him. Prosecutors argued clergy members are “mandatory reporters” under a state law when it comes to suspected sex abuse, and therefore could not have been bound by clergyman’s privilege. Bujak also is charged with two misdemeanor counts of battery.

Boles explained that the one-on-one confidentiality already had been broken, because the girl’s mother and stepfather were present with her during a March 2005 session, which was followed by several others.

According to authorities, between then and May 2005, Bujak used a large piece of wood molding to repeatedly spank the 12-year-old, leaving marks on her legs and buttocks. The girl’s mother had brought the child to Bujak for counseling, because she didn’t believe the girl’s claims about being abused.

Her stepfather, Matthew Resh, 33, of Ingleside, eventually was charged in May 2006 with assaulting the girl, and faces five felony counts of predatory criminal sexual assault in McHenry County.

Bujak is scheduled to appear in court at the Kane County Judicial Center in St. Charles for a trial set for January. Attorneys are expecting the trial to last several days, they said.

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