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Cambridge pastor arrested in alleged Isanti County sex crimes

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Prosecutors in Isanti County, Minnesota accuse a pastor who is connected to an organization that assists people in breaking away from a gay lifestyle with sexually assaulting young men seeking counseling services. An investigation was opened after a counselor for the organization told authorities that two young men reported being sexually abused by the pastor. Church officials say that no minors were involved in the allegations of sexual abuse.

Law enforcement met with one of the alleged victims November 4. Authorities say that the young man said that the pastor would act as a mentor and pray with the young man. But authorities also say that the pastor engaged in inappropriate sexual acts, calling the alleged sexual abuse "blessings," according to a report in the Isanti County News.

The victim claims that he met the pastor through another person at the pastor's home. He says that he went on a retreat with the pastor and the other man, and he claims that the pastor engaged in physical contact with the two men at the spiritual retreat attended by six young men. The victim claims that the pastor touched the victim's shoulder and thighs, and hugged people at the spiritual retreat.

The alleged victim reportedly told authorities that the pastor had said at one time that people would not understand the ministry if people observed the sessions.

Prosecutors filed charges earlier this month alleging eight counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct against the pastor. Officials say that acts of abuse occurred at three separate locations: a church in Cambridge, Minnesota, the church's prayer cabin; and, at a private residence.

A judge set bail at $50,000 without conditions, or $20,000 with condition, including random urine testing, n o contact with alleged victims, no use of alcohol or drugs, and other conditions of release. The pastor is scheduled to appear in court again December 12.

Source: Isanti County News, "Senior pastor charged with criminal sexual conduct," Rachel Kytonen, Nov. 7, 2012

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