Pella Chronicle

February 5, 2013

Civil litigation involving Edouard begins

By Steve Woodhouse
The Chronicle

Pella — Public court documents indicate that Valerie Bandstra, Anne Bandstra, Ryan Bandstra and Jason Bandstra are named plaintiffs who filed suit against convicted sex offender and former Pella pastor Patrick Edouard, as well as the Covenant Reformed Church, United Reformed Churches in North America, Clarence Hettinga, Arnold Van Donselaar, Norman Van Mersbergen, William Hartman and the board of elders of Covenant Reformed Church.

Edouard was convicted of four counts of sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist and one count of entering into a pattern/scheme of exploitation by a therapist. He was sentenced to one year in prison on each of the exploitation counts and five years on the ongoing charge. The individual sentences per exploitation count will be served consecutively, and the sentence on the pattern charge will run concurrently with those.

He is currently appealing this sentence. Briefs have not been filed in the appeal. When those are filed, the case will go to the Iowa Supreme Court. The Iowa Supreme Court will choose whether or not it will hear the appeal, or if it will send it to the Appellate Court.

As for the civil case, there are several counts alleged by the plaintiffs against every defendant. Defendants Hettinga, Van Donselaar, Van Mersbergen and Hartman were members of the Covenant Reformed Church Board. Court documents, imbedded below allege that these board members made statements defamatory against the plaintiffs.

Edouard has denied all of the allegations presented in the civil claim. He has also filed a counterclaim against the plaintiffs.

A jury trial has been demanded. No further court date has been set.