De Pere man charged in abuse of adopted children accused of child sex assault

Donald Windey. Photo: Brown County Jail
Donald Windey. Photo: Brown County Jail(WBAY)
Published: Sep. 27, 2019 at 5:17 PM CDT
Email this link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

A De Pere man facing trial in the mental and physical abuse of his adopted children is now facing a new charge--repeated sexual assault of a child.

Donald Windey, 53, appeared in Brown County Court Friday for a hearing about his upcoming trial. During the hearing, prosecutors read a probable cause statement accusing Windey of sexually assaulting a child between the years 2009-2016. A criminal complaint has not been filed yet in that case, but child sex abuse is referenced in documents filed against Donald and his wife Sharon in 2018.

That 2018 criminal complaint details years of emotional, physical, and mental abuse inside the Windey home.

In the 2018 complaint, underage victims stated Donald would rub their legs and touch them inappropriately. They said he would also make them kiss him and make them sit on his lap. One victim said he would have "kissing sessions" with her. At random times Windey would make the victims take off their clothes, according to the complaint.

During Friday's hearing, a judge set Windey's cash bond at $10,000 for the child sex assault case while he awaits trial on separate charges of physical abuse of a child; strangulation and suffocation; child neglect; and causing mental harm to a child.

The court moved Donald Windey's trial start date back to Jan. 6.

Initially, Donald was to stand trial on the child abuse and neglect charges with his wife Sharon. Those trials have now been separated. Sharon's trial is set for Nov. 11.


The complaint states the investigation found "overwhelming" confirmation that since 2006, there have been Child Protective Services referrals, police contacts and reports from school officials about the three children being victims of physical abuse, mental abuse, child neglect and inappropriate sexual contact in the Windey home on Sullivan Street in De Pere.

On Feb. 12, 2018, De Pere Police assigned a sergeant to investigate reports of possible abuse at the home where the children lived with Sharon Windey, her husband Donald Windey, and the couple's 25-year-old son.

Investigators started interviewing the three adopted children--a girl aged 15; a girl aged 14; and a boy aged 15.

The kids described being punched, choked, spanked, thrown against a wall, hair pulling, food punishment and exercise punishment.

Both girls said the parents used "excessive feedings of oatmeal" as a punishment. The boy once threw up the oatmeal and the father "made him eat his own vomit and the oatmeal," reads the complaint. Donald told the boy "people were dying in Africa and he needed to eat the puke and oatmeal."

One of the girls described locks on the freezer, cabinet and pantry.

"They are outgoing and they try to put up the facade of being the perfect family outside of our house," the boy told investigators. "They will scare us with punishments. They will take things out of our room. For being disrespectful, they will hit them; slap them across the face and stuff. The hitting has happened multiple times."

On Feb. 15, a De Pere Police Sergeant interviewed Sharon and Donald Windey. At one point, Sharon said Donald saw a clown and demons next to one of the girls on the couch. "Donald said that was from the 'IT' movie," Sharon explained.

Sharon said the children also see things. "Donald said he don't know if there is evil hanging around them so he wants to be on the good side," reads the criminal complaint.

The sergeant asked if the children get social security money. Sharon says they are a special needs adoption and get a stipend. "Sharon said you could not pay her enough money to take these children again," reads the complaint.

A 19-year-old woman who had been adopted by the Windeys and had left the home also detailed years of abuse at the hands of her adoptive parents. She said the kids would "tell counselors, therapists, and teachers of what was happening in the house hoping for help."

The complaint reads, "But each time CPS or police came and they were left in the house the rules and abuse just got worse on the kids and Donald and Sharon became more in charge."