Dwight said he, Damian and three other brothers grew up in South Minneapolis and had a close relationship until the family approached Damian about their suspicions. Damian, who had worked at the church for two years prior to the 2007 meeting, told family members the church knew about his past, Dwight said. The family then asked him to step away from the church, but Damian instead broke ties with the family.Settergren is pastor Paul Settergren. He did not act on the allegations.
At that point, Dwight said he brought his concerns to Settergren.
Settergren told WCCO-TV on Saturday that he recalls meeting with Burkhalter's family but that he couldn't fire Damian Burkhalter for allegations he couldn't substantiate.Is firing the only way to handle this kind of allegation? I can think of several other ways. Launching an investigation is one path. A more effective approach may have been to simply ramp up internal controls. These include: Audits of behavior, education, guidelines for appropriate behavior, third party reviews, I can go on-and-on with this. Something is better than nothing. Why do nothing? It is as if Settergren gave Burkhalter a green light for abuse.
Update 6/15/2012 - All charges were dropped. Burkhalter is innocent.
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