Court orders new trial for Iowa pastor in sex case

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A former Iowa pastor will receive a new trial on charges that he sexually exploited several female members of his congregation.

The Iowa Court of Appeals on Wednesday overturned a jury’s verdict that found former Pella pastor Patrick Edouard guilty of four counts of sexual exploitation by a counselor.

The court says the instructions given to jurors contained a broader definition of “counselor” than should have been given under Iowa Supreme Court precedent. The court says the error undermined Edouard’s defense, which was that he engaged in sexual conduct with the women but that he was not a mental health counselor.

Edouard quit his job as pastor at Covenant Reform Church after the women complained in 2011. Court records show he has been free on bond during his appeal.

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