Charges: Youth Director Sexually Assaulted Girl at Church, on Retreats

| June 19, 2011

HAM LAKE, Minn. (FOX 9) – Charges were filed Thursday against a Ham Lake Lutheran church youth director accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in the summer and fall of 2010. The victim said the assaults took place at the church, on church retreats and at a youth camp, among other places.

Damian Burkhalter, 47, of Blaine, Minn., is the youth director at Glen Cary Lutheran Church in Ham Lake. He was arrested Tuesday in connection with the allegations, which surfaced during a therapy session.

According to the criminal complaint, Burkhalter accepted the girl into his family and wanted to adopt the girl and her sister. The victim said worked as a secretary under Burkhalter, and as the abuse continued she tried to find religious reasons to make him stop. (Note: The church says no secretary position exists).

Read more: Charges: Youth Pastor Sexually Assaulted Girl at Church, on Retreats | Damian Burkhalter

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