Prominent trial attorney Roxanne Conlin, who has successfully sued Microsoft for $75,000,000 in attorney fees, has been retained to sue former URCNA pastor Patrick Edouard, Covenant Reformed Church, the Consistory, individual members of the Consistory, and the URCNA. Mr. Edouard was previously convicted of counselor abuse charges but was acquitted on sexual abuse charges
The plaintiffs are attorney Valerie Bandstra, her husband Jason Bandstra, Anne Bandstra, and her husband Ryan Bandstra, who were all members of Covenant Reformed Church. The core facts of the petition include that Valerie Bandstra, who was receiving counseling from Reverend Edouard, was the victim of forcible sex in early 2006 followed by other sexual encounters into 2008. She transferred $20,000 into a bank account for Rev. Edouard in 2008. The two continued to talk by telephone into 2009, including conversations of a sexual nature. The petition further alleges that Rev. Edouard began telephone conversations with Anne Bandstra in 2008 and began having sexual intercourse with her in May of that year. Their “sex acts” continued into December of 2010.
At that point Jason and Ryan Bandstra became aware of their spouses’ sexual involvement with Rev. Edouard and told the Consistory about it. Shortly thereafter all the plaintiffs along with Rev. Edouard met with the Consistory. The petition alleges that the Consistory “did nothing” at that time except to distribute a letter to the congregation that characterized the sexual activity as consensual. In September of 2012 the Bandstras sent a letter to the Consistory in which they threatened to sue if the Consistory did not take “remedial action.”
There are ten counts in the petition with different defendants depending upon the count:
- Assault & Battery – Mr. Edouard
- Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress – all Defendants
- Sexual Exploitation by a Counselor – Mr. Edouard
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty – Mr. Edouard
- Professional Negligence – Mr. Edouard
- Negligence: Mr Edouard, the Consistory, individual members of the Consistory, Covenant Reformed Chuch
- Respondeat Superior (holding superiors accountable for acts of those acting on their behalf) – Covenant Reformed Church, the Consistory, and the URCNA
- Negligent Hiring, Supervision & Retention – Covenant Reformed Church, the Consistory, and the URCNA
- Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress – Covenant Reformed Church, the Consistory, and the URCNA
- Defamation – Covenant Reformed Church, the Consistory, and three members of the Consistory individually
Under the defamation count, the petition includes a number of quotes that state or imply that Valerie and Anne Bandstra were involved in consensual sex and/or need forgiveness.
The petition was filed on December 12, 2012, in Marion County, Iowa.