Former Avon pastor pleads guilty to having sexual relationship with parishioner

St. Cloud Times

August 27, 2019

By Clairissa Baker and Jenny Berg

An Avon man pleaded guilty Tuesday as part of a plea agreement to engaging in a sexual relationship with a parishioner he counseled while he was a pastor at an Avon church.

Charles Normal Pelkey, 50, was charged in Stearns County District Court with one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in July 2018.

A jury trial was scheduled to start Tuesday; it was canceled in light of the plea agreement.

As part of the agreement, the judge will likely stay adjudication of the sentence, presuming Pelkey cooperates with his pre-sentence investigation, signs releases for a psychosexual evaluation and follows all recommendations, according to Ole Tvedten, chief of the criminal division in the Stearns County Attorney’s Office.

The remaining terms of Pelkey’s probation will be imposed at his sentencing, which is scheduled for Oct. 31. Probation violations would result in conviction, predatory offender registration and potential prison time, according to Tvedten.

Minnesota law bars sexual relationships between clergy and those to whom they give counsel; consent is not a defense.

Clergy members are treated similarly to counselors, physicians, psychologists, social workers and therapists who work with people seeking support, Tvedten said.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.