A pastor in Stearns County has turned himself into police and is facing a criminal sexual conduct charge.
A member of the Avon Community Church reported to the Avon Police Department on July 11 that Pastor Charles Norman Pelkey, 49, was having a sexual relationship with a parishioner whom he was providing religious and spiritual guidance.
The Stearns County Sheriff's Office investigated and learned that the parishioner received family counseling from Pelkey in 2012, and then reached out to Pelkey again in 2017 for religious, spiritual and marital advice.
In March of this year Pelkey started a sexual relationship with the parishioner and it continued through May, all the while Pelkey was providing counseling, the sheriff's office says.
Minnesota law does not allow clergy to engage in a sexual relationship with individuals they are providing counseling, and consent from the victim is not a defense.
Pelkey turned himself in and is currently jailed on a third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge.
At the time of the report, Pelkey was the chaplain for the Avon Police Department, so the department referred the investigation to the Stearns County Sheriff's Office to avoid any conflict of interest.
Pelkey is not listed as a pastor on the Avon Community Church website.