It was standing room only in a Red Deer courtroom Wednesday afternoon as a local pastor learned his fate after being convicted of sexual assault.
Stanley Richard Schalk, 58, was found guilty of the offence this past September following a trial in front of Provincial Court Judge Darrell Riemer.
In his verbal ruling, Riemer said Schalk took the victim, who was 42 at the time and whose name is protected under a court-ordered publication ban, to an acreage near Delburne on the afternoon of June 15, 2015. Riemer said the two were seated next to each other on a blanket on the ground when Schalk grabbed the woman’s breast without her consent.
Riemer said this left the victim angry and upset and referenced an incident about a week prior to the occurrence near Delburne where Schalk hugged the victim and grabbed her behind. Riemer said the woman told Schalk not to do that again and so he was “put on notice that that kind of conduct would not be consented to.”
Judge Riemer stated that he felt the sexual assault in this case was “deliberate and intentional,” noting Schalk took the victim to a secluded location and that he was in a position of trust as her pastor and part-time employer. Riemer said the abuse of trust was an aggravating factor.
“Significant emotional harm to the complainant has resulted from this encounter,” stated Riemer, referencing the woman’s victim impact statement where she said the incident left her feeling betrayed, manipulated, and violated.
Riemer also pointed to Schalk’s pre-sentence report, where the pastor acknowledged that what he did caused anguish to the victim. Schalk said it was “ego driven” and that he has a “weakness for women.” Court heard Schalk, who has been married for 38 years and has three grown children, founded a church back in 1988 but was fired in 1997 after he had an affair with another woman.
Schalk later developed Potter’s Hands, which Riemer said serves a significant need for low-cost housing in the community. Court also heard that since November of 2015, Schalk voluntarily participated in six therapy sessions related to sexual assault issues.
Riemer said Schalk’s lack of previous criminal record, his positive contributions to the community for many years, his willingness to attend therapy, and his acknowledgment of the harm caused to the victim were all mitigating factors.
Ultimately, Schalk was handed a 90-day conditional sentence order, to be served in the community under strict terms. For the first 30 days, Schalk will be under house arrest. Following that, a curfew will be determined by his conditional sentence supervisor. Once the order is complete, Schalk will serve 12 months of probation. Conditions of both orders include having no contact with the victim and undertaking any counselling that may be recommended.
Schalk must also provide a sample of his DNA to be kept in a database and he will be listed on the Sex Offender Registry for 10 years.
Riemer urged Schalk to continue the good he has done in the community. “I trust this court will not see you again,” said Riemer.
In a statement to rdnewsNOW prior to Wednesday’s sentencing, the victim said “When you turn a spot light on a predator and expose them, the truth is shown. This is all that mattered to me, and I hope it saves and helped many people."
The victim's mother also provided a written statement on behalf of her daughter, saying "Being victimized by a man of trust, a pastor, a supposed man of God is a feeling of extreme violation and degredation." The statement also reads "Justice has prevailed and Stanley Richard Schalk has been found guilty. This is the justice that we all have been striving for."
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