The Zwolle District Court on Tuesday acquitted Evert V. (61), former pastor of Evangelical Church De Deur in Zwolle, of fornication with a pastor.
The court considers it proven that the man performed sexual acts with the female church member, but ruled “that there are insufficient leads to establish that the man was in a role of counselor and the woman had a position of dependence.”
It is an established fact that the pastor and the respondent had direct and personal contact at the end of 2014. There was no concrete request for help, according to the court. “From this contact a friendly bond gradually developed between the defendant and declarant, in which they offered each other a listening ear, shared (sexual) relationship problems with each other and kept each other company. This relationship led after several months to a sexual relationship between the defendant and declarant.”
Because the judge could not prove that the woman was in a position of dependency, the sexual acts could not be classified as lewd.
The declarant argued during the hearing on May 17 that the pastor had abused his power, since at the time he enjoyed great prestige in the Christian Fellowship Ministries, the international association of churches to which The Door belongs. In her view, it was difficult to refuse him anything, since she saw him as “anointed of God” and she looked up to him highly.
When asked, the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the East Netherlands indicated that it was considering an appeal. This or next week it will become clear whether the verdict indeed gives cause to do so.
Source: Reformatorisch Dagblad