Former Minnesota preacher accused of sexual abuse of children over 50 years ago

KVRR-TV (Fox, Ch. 15) [Fargo ND]

October 14, 2022

By KVRR Staff

An 80-year-old man from St. Louis County faces several charges Wednesday for the alleged sexual abuse of two children while a prominent church member during the 1970s.

According to court documents, Spencer Main, 80, was charged with two counts of sodomy of a child, four counts of indecent liberties, and one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct of a child for the alleged abuse of two girls from 1971-1975.

The two women, identified as “juvenile A” and “juvenile B” in the criminal complaint, say the alleged abuse took place between the ages of 8-12. The majority of the alleged abuse occurred in Main’s home just north of Virginia in St. Louis County.

During this time, Main was an active member of the Plymouth Brethren church in Virginia and would “occasionally preach in church,” the criminal complaint reads.

Both women told police that Main groomed them, which escalated into sexual acts. Juvenile B said Main would threaten her that if she told anyone about what was happening, she and her three younger siblings staying with him would not have anywhere to live, the complaint reads.

Juvenile A said the alleged abuse started as young as 3 or 4 years old. She said she did not want to participate in what Main wanted, but he would tell her that “God wanted her to do it,” the complaint reads.

In the charges, juvenile A said the church removed her from Main’s home in the mid-70s because they felt she was “becoming too much of a wife” to Main. However, he threatened to kill someone if she was not returned. Juvenile A told investigators she thinks she was only gone for about two days, according to the complaint.

After a vacation in 1973, the women recalled they talked to church elders as children about what Main allegedly did to them. The elders told Main he was no longer allowed to preach at the church, and he blamed juvenile B for “ruining his ministry.”

After speaking with church elders, juvenile B said Main did not abuse her anymore, according to the complaint.

Main’s then wife told police around 1978, juvenile A told her that Main had been sexually abusing her for many years. She reported it to the sheriff’s office but said nothing was done. Decades later, the victims went to authorities in 2011 to report the abuse, but we’re told they couldn’t bring charges since the statute of limitations had passed.

However, in 2021, the Minnesota State Legislature removed the statute of limitations for criminal sexual conduct, allowing authorities to move forward with the case.

In September 2022, police interviewed Main at his home. When they asked him about the alleged sexual abuse of juveniles A and B when they were children, he replied, “not that I know of,” the complaint reads. He later denied the allegations ever took place.

During an investigation, police say Main would constantly change the topic and talk about disagreements he had with a pastor and the church during that time, claiming the church situation and sexual abuse allegations were connected, hinting at “brainwashing,” the complaint states.

“I think bad things happen to a lotta people, and there’s a thing I saw in a … Hallmark cards thing: And if you’re still hurting from the scars of the past, you can’t be touched by the blessings of the present,” Main allegedly told police adding, “I think sometimes you just gotta let it go.”

Main will make his first court appearance on Friday, Nov. 4.