May 27, 2005

Judge OKs priest’s insanity plea


By Andy Nelesen

A Brown County judge accepted a 62-year-old priest’s bid to plead insanity and ordered him to undergo a mental examination in a case charging him with child molestation.

Brown County Circuit Court Judge J.D. McKay also “categorically denied” the Rev. Donald Buzanowski’s bid to bar media coverage of pre-trial hearings. McKay’s ruling made moot a motion to intervene filed by Joe Thornton, a lawyer representing the Green Bay Press-Gazette and WLUK, Channel 11.

“There is no justification, no precedent this court is aware of to make such a ruling,” McKay said in denying efforts to bar the media.

Buzanowski faces two counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child. He is accused of fondling a 10-year-old boy in 1988 while Buzanowski served as a counselor at Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic School in Green Bay

Buzanowski remains in custody in the Brown County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail. As part of his plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, Buzanowski will have to submit to a psychological evaluation to determine whether he understood right from wrong when he allegedly touched the boy and whether he was able to conform to the rules of society.

The results of that exam are due July 8.

Posted by kshaw at May 27, 2005 06:37 AM