Dodgeville daycare director on leave during police investigation

Father Bill Van Wagner says he became aware of some allegations in April
Father Bill Van Wagner says he became aware of some allegations in April.
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 4:06 AM CDT|Updated: May. 3, 2022 at 10:56 AM CDT
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DODGEVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - Police in Dodgeville are investigating allegations of possible abuse and neglect after a former employee came forward with information in late April. The daycare director at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church is now on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Dodgeville Police Chief David Bauer told NBC15 News that investigators are trying to determine if the allegations rise to the level of abuse or neglect. He noted that the accusations against are not sexual in nature. He says when they received the allegations, their first course of action was to contact the parish.

“Making sure that the children are safe,” said Chief Bauer. “So in this case we contacted the parish to let them know this was brought to our attention and we make sure that we can verify that at least that they are being safe and whatever happened in the past, doesn’t happen going forward,”

Chief Bauer says the allegations span a period of time, he wouldn’t specify how long, and could involve multiple children. He says the parish is cooperating with the investigation as police are now interviewing multiple people.

A Facebook post from Father Bill Van Wagner of St. Joseph’s Church confirmed daycare’s director has been placed on administrative leave.

Van Wagner says on April 22, he was made aware of “some allegations regarding the conduct of the director of St. Joseph Daycare. At that time, I determined that further investigation into the matter was necessary,”

Van Wagner says that’s when the police became involved. He did not go into detail about the allegations.

While the director is on leave, Van Wagner stresses that the person involved should be treated as innocent until proven guilty.

“This is not to be interpreted as a declaration of guilt nor should any conclusions be drawn from this decision. This was done in order to allow the police department to conduct their investigation with greater ease,” he said in the post. “The accused has a right to a good reputation,”

Van Wagner says this is the first time he was aware of any accusations of this nature against the director.

Chief Bauer doesn’t believe children are in any danger.

“I would tell them (parents) that we are in the process of investigating all the concerns that have been brought up,” he said “We are confident there are not ongoing concerns for their children. And we are going to be monitoring that along with the parish to make sure that continues to be the case,”

The daycare will remain open under a temporary director.

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