Patrick Edouard, former URCNA pastor in Pella, Iowa, is currently on trial for multiple counts of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation by a counselor for incidents that occurred between January 1, 2003 and April 30, 2008.
There is no question that there was sexual conduct. The women were members of the church who were receiving pastoral counseling. The trial is now underway in Dallas County, Iowa.
To establish the charge of sexual abuse, prosecutors must establish that it was by force or against the will of the other person. The statute on sexual exploitation by a counselor applies to any “physician, psychologist, nurse, professional counselor, social worker, marriage or family therapist, alcohol or drug counselor, member of the clergy, or any other person, whether or not licensed or registered by the state, who provides or purports to provide mental health services.”
It is unlikely that the defense will be able to avoid Mr. Edouard being convicted for sexual exploitation by a counselor.
No doubt many people have suffered from what has happened and it has been a trying time for the URC Consistory. One thing that leaps out from the accounts is that Reverend Edouard appeared to be doing counseling with women in his basement with no one in the area other than he and the counselees. That should not have happened and I trust the Consistory has put safeguards in place so that kind of counseling arrangement is not repeated.
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