Friday, June 17, 2011

Youth pastor Damian Burkhalter arrested

In Ham Lake (the home of bacon?), youth pastor Damian Blake Burkhalter of Glen Cary Lutheran Church, was arrested for an alleged sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl. He faces 30 years in prison if convicted. As usual, the abuse was completely inconsistent with the concept of Christian morality.
Burkhalter was employed as youth director at Glen Cary Lutheran Church in Ham Lake when he allegedly tried to have sex with the victim from June to November, 2010. The victim described oral sex incidents, most of which happened at the church, in Burkhalter's office or in the youth room in the church's basement. Other sexual incidents happened at Burkhalter's Blaine home.
The girl was hired as Burkhalter's temporary secretary over the summer, working about two shifts a week. She said there was sexual contact with Burkhalter on each shift. Burkhalter allegedly tried to adopt the victim, a detail supported by testimony of the victim's aunt, who the girl now lives with in Willmar.
I’ll have to add a few things to my list of potential abuse vectors. In this case, I question if it is advisable for a child to work for an adult in a job that affords routine privacy. Another question I have is how a relationship that included talk of adoption could escape the scrutiny of the leadership of his church. Whenever a youth pastor becomes a child's surrogate daddy, more oversight is required. It should be seen as a potential grooming activity.

As usual, there is no mention of the arrest on the churches website.

Update 6/15/2012 - All charges were dropped. Burkhalter is innocent.