Pella Chronicle

January 30, 2014

Supreme Court grants application for further review

By Steve Woodhouse
The Chronicle

Des Moines — The Iowa Supreme Court has granted an application for further review in the case against former Pella Pastor Patrick Edouard. Edouard was granted a new trial on Nov. 20, 2013. 

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 filed an appeal, and the Court of Appeals granted him a new trial in a ruling filed Nov. 20. Iowa law defines a counselor or therapist as anyone “who provides or purports to provide mental health services.” That can include members of the clergy. But critical terms in the law are undefined, including “treatment,” “assessment,” and “counseling.”

In the State's request, it is written that the District Court ruled that the opinions of Dr. Hollinda Wakefield, a forensic psychologist, would not be helpful to the jury, was not based upon recognized standard and were not relevant to use of the terms "mental health services."

The State's review also challenges the Court of Appeals' decision to base its definition of "counseling" on the Gonzalez decision. The review says that trial courts have "rather broad discretion" in choosing to convey a particular concept to a jury. 

The State's motion was filed Dec. 10, 2013. Edouard's attorneys resisted the State's motion. 

"The Supreme Court granted our application and has agreed to hear the case," Attorney General Spokesman Geoff Greenwood said. "It is not seeking additional briefs from either side.  The oral argument date has not yet been set."

We'll continue to follow this story.