Former Pella Pastor, Set for Trial in May, Seeks Medical Records from His Alleged Abuse Victims

By Jeff Eckhoff
Des Moines Register
January 20, 2012

A former Pella pastor accused of raping and sexually exploiting multiple women now faces a May 14 trial after a judge rejected his lawyer’s attempt to get much of the case thrown out.

Patrick Edouard (file photo)

Patrick Edouard, 42, was scheduled to face trial in Dallas County this week on Marion County charges that he raped three women and on four occasions violated an Iowa law that makes it a crime for counselors or therapists to sexually exploit clients in their care.

Defense Attorney Angela Campbell argued in court papers that the four sexual exploitation counts should be thrown out because prosecutors had failed to identify “any ‘emotional condition’ under which any of the accusers were laboring such that defendant knew, or had reason to know, they were ‘significantly impared in the ability to withhold consent to sexual conduct’ ” as defined in Iowa law. Campbell also attacked the constitutionality of the sexual exploitation law, arguing that the statute “unconstitutionally burden’s Edouard’s fundamental right to associate in intimate relationships, in violation of his due process rights” and that the law, “as applied to members of the clergy, violates the establishment clauses of the state and federal constitutions.”

District Judge Paul Huscher rejected all those arguments, ruling that the law applies no unfair burden to clergy and that documents filed by prosecutors to support the charges “at least minimally allege a crime.”

“Whether the state’s evidence submitted at trial will be sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss at the close of its case is an entirely different matter,” Huscher wrote, “but the state is entitled to present its case.”

The judge also rejected Edouard’s efforts to gain access to the victim’s medical records. Huscher said the request, outlined in a sealed motion Campbell filed last month, “failed to make the necessary showing that there is a reasonable basis or reasonable probability that the records contain exculpatory evidence.”

Edouard, a former pastor at Pella’s Covenant Reformed Church, left his job in December 2010 after church leaders confronted him with allegations of sexual infidelity.

Huscher last fall ordered the trial moved to Dallas County after Campbell argued that media coverage and Marion County’s close ties to its churches had already biased potential jurors there.

Court papers filed last August argue that Marion County’s deep ties to the Dutch Reformed Church makes the community particularly sensitive to allegations of sex crimes involving a pastor. Documents cite the fact that nearly one-quarter of Marion County residents identify themselves as Dutch Reformed and that Edouard’s sermons routinely were broadcast on radio and streamed live on the Internet.

Edouard, a native Haitian who went to high school in New York and moved to Pella from Toronto, reportedly moved to Michigan with his wife and four daughters last year.








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