An Elgin preacher was accused in court Tuesday of subjecting a 12-year-old girl to weekly spankings in his church office after she made sexual abuse allegations against her stepfather.
"He said I needed to be shown how I was wrong, and he was doing this out of love," the girl, now 16, testified in the trial of the Rev. Daryl P. Bujak. "He said he cares about my well-being, and he does not want me to grow up being a liar and going to hell."
Bujak, 33, is charged with failing to report the abuse allegations to authorities and two counts of misdemeanor battery stemming from the spankings at First Missionary Baptist Church in Elgin.
According to testimony, the spankings began in March 2005 after the girl, who lives in Richmond, accused her stepfather of being overly physical and getting into bed with her and removing their clothes.
The mother said no one believed the accusation, which the stepfather denied, because her daughter had a history of lying and acting up. The family sought counseling from Bujak, knowing it would involve spankings, as a way to resolve the situation, she said.
"Personally, I felt it was kind of kinky but it wasn't my place to say," the mother testified. "I wasn't the man."
The weekly sessions would begin about an hour before Wednesday evening services, the mother said, with the mother meeting with Bujak to discuss the girl's behavior the prior week. Bujak would then call the girl into his office, where alone they would talk and pray.
Before the girl would leave, she was told to "bend over and grab my ankles" so she could be struck 15 to 25 times with a strip of molding trim Bujak kept in his office, the girl said.
It wasn't until October 2005 that the stepfather filed for divorce, and the girl disclosed new details of the alleged abuse, that the mother and Bujak went to police.
Now her stepfather, a 36-year-old Richmond man, faces five counts of predatory criminal sexual assault. He has pleaded not guilty.
Bujak's attorney argued the spankings were a form of "corporal punishment" authorized by the girl's parents. He said Bujak did not report the abuse allegations to police because the initial charges were vague and the girl quickly recanted.
The trial continues Wednesday.