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.