Wednesday, July 11, the Avon Police Department contacted the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office and referred a sexual assault investigation to the Sheriff’s Office due to a potential conflict-of-interest. The Avon Police Department had received information from a parishioner of the Avon Community Church reporting that Pastor Charles Norman Pelkey, 49, was having a sexual relationship with another parishioner during the course of on-
going counseling sessions. Pelkey, at the time of the report, was the Chaplain for the Avon Police Department which is the basis for the conflict.
The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation into the allegations and confirmed that Pelkey was Pastor at the Avon Community Church. As part of Pelkey’s ministerial duties he provided religious and spiritual advice, family counseling, marriage counseling, and individual counseling. In 2012, the victim in this matter sought out family counseling for a short period of time. In November 2017, the victim sought religious and spiritual guidance from Pelkey. While still providing counseling, Pelkey in March of this year, began a sexual relationship with the victim. The sexual relationship continued until May 2018.
During that time Pelkey continued to provide religious and marital guidance to the victim. Minnesota Law prohibits a member of the clergy from engaging in a sexual act during the course of a meeting in which the victim sought or received religious or spiritual advice, aid, or comfort from the suspect in private or during a period of time in which the victim was meeting on an ongoing basis with the suspect to seek or receive religious or spiritual advice, aid, or comfort in private. Consent is not a defense.
Pelkey turned himself in to the Stearns County Law Enforcement Center July 30, booked pending a court appearance on the charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was released July 31 on $20,000 bail.