Edouard Convictions Reversed

The Iowa Court of Appeals has reversed the Patrick Edouard convictions. The decision gives Edouard a more extensive ability to prove that that his relationships with the female parishioners, though admittedly sexual, were not counseling relationships. Upon retrial, the jury is to hear the instruction that “counseling” is

 “’a practice or professional service designed to guide an individual to a better understanding of his problems and potentialities by utilizing modern psychological principles and methods esp. in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes.’” Id. (quoting Webster’s Third New Int’l Dictionary 518 (unabr. ed. 2002)).

In addition, Edouard may call to the stand Hollida Wakefield,

a forensic psychologist, to explain the differences between “pastoral counseling” versus “pastoral care.” In an offer of proof, Dr. Wakefield opined that Edouard’s interactions with the four parishioners did not fit “the definition of pastoral counseling.” Edouard asserts the district court’s exclusion of the expert “deprived the defense of one of its strongest arguments of innocence.” We agree.

So at retrial the prosecution will have to prove there was “counseling” in a fairly narrow sense of the word.  Did Edouard use modern psychological principles and methods?  Did he collect case history data and test aptitudes in the clinical sense? Or were the relationships less structured than that?  Prosecution will certainly be more difficult the second time around, and there will be an increased focus on the character of the relationships between Edouard and the parishioners whom he is accused of sexually exploiting as a counselor.

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1 Comment

Filed under Church and State, Courts

One response to “Edouard Convictions Reversed

  1. Reblogged this on Literate Comments and commented:
    My comments: This may not be a bad thing. Do we want the Magistrate coming in and scrutinizing these sordid affairs or should this be the job of church officers? Short of rape or sexual abuse of a minor, I am thinking that officers should be sufficient to deal with it. Keep in mind that along with the criminal prosecution comes the civil suit from the deep-pocketed trial attorney, as has happened in the Edouard case with Roxanne Conlin. The Covenant elders and the URCNA were sued as well, although I think the URCNA has been rightly dropped from the suit. Not too long ago in the United States we had polygamous Mormons and groups like the Oneida Community that practiced strange sexual arrangements as part of their religion. These practices have faded, but as sexual arrangements in the country at large have gotten stranger, is it not odd to have the magistrate passing judgment on deviant, consenting, nonviolent sexual practices within the church? This isn’t to say that what has happened in the Edouard case is not disgraceful, but it is a church mess that the church should clean up, learn from, and hopefully not repeat.

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