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‘It's past evil’: Former Alberta youth pastor who advocated for psychological well being sentenced for sexually exploiting teen

“God offers alternative, and this man completely betrayed that alternative. It is past evil.”

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Warning: this story incorporates particulars some readers might discover disturbing 

A disgraced Alberta youth pastor held his head in his arms as a former teenage congregant broke down in tears describing the sexual abuse she suffered at his arms.

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Bradley Dahr was sentenced to 5 years in jail Friday after pleading responsible to sexual exploitation and youngster pornography costs.

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The 56-year-old was a pastor at a Seventh-day Adventist church in Vegreville, the place he led a youth ministry centered on psychological well being.

The sufferer — whose id is protected by a publication ban — was a member of this system. She as soon as co-preached alongside Dahr and led youth psychological well being workshops in faculties.

Dahr and his spouse additionally repeatedly drove the sufferer to Edmonton, the place she was present process counselling remedy.

Now in her 20s, the girl stated she was manipulated by a person she and her neighborhood trusted.

“So many days I get up feeling empty and exhausted and alone and hurting,” she instructed courtroom.

The lady’s mom stated Dahr’s crimes led her to withdraw from her religion.

“How may she nonetheless have religion?” the mom stated in an interview exterior courtroom. “She had religion, and it was completely betrayed by the one who was presupposed to be representing God to her — a God who doesn’t do that to weak folks.”

“God offers alternative, and this man completely betrayed that alternative. It’s past evil.”

Dahr turned a pastor in Vegreville in 2016. After studying concerning the “intensive” psychological well being struggles amongst youth within the church, he began a ministry known as COME2LIFE. Dahr, who himself struggled with melancholy, billed the ministry as a option to get children to open up about their psychological well being.

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When the sufferer disclosed to Dahr that she thought of hurting herself, he requested permission to test in together with her day by day by textual content. Her mom was initially grateful to Dahr and his spouse for caring about her daughter. When the woman’s psychological well being worsened in late 2019, Dahr met together with her dad and mom and instructed a counsellor in Edmonton. Dahr — who had earlier instructed the woman’s household he would by no means be alone in a room with a member of the other intercourse — volunteered to drive her to the appointments. Generally, Dahr’s spouse accompanied, although different occasions he drove the woman alone.

In early 2020, Dahr discovered himself drawn to the sufferer. He instructed her their common “help hugs” have been feeling extra “profound” and tried to re-establish boundaries. Regardless of this, and regardless of issues percolating amongst members of the church, Dahr engaged in intercourse acts with the woman within the church basement that April.

The intercourse continued by the autumn, when the woman tried to finish the connection. She frightened Dahr would possibly attempt to kill himself. The woman made her personal try at suicide across the identical time, calling Dahr in the midst of the act.

Dahr continued to have intercourse with the woman after she recovered. He additionally despatched her sexual photographs and movies of himself, and inspired her to ship comparable photos. A number of movies used degrading language, which prosecutor Britta Kristensen learn into the courtroom file. 

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Members of the church congregation lastly confronted Dahr on Oct. 31, 2020. He quickly despatched a resignation letter to church superiors disclosing the actual fact he had been having intercourse with a 17-year-old. He additionally apologized to the woman’s dad and mom, however didn’t go into element.

Later that fall, he emailed the sufferer asking her to delete intimate photos from a shared Dropbox account.

The sufferer’s dad and mom spoke with RCMP later that month however stated they have been reluctant to pursue costs given their daughter’s psychological well being. The woman ultimately filed a grievance, and Dahr was arrested the next spring.

Dahr confronted a complete of 5 costs and pleaded responsible to 2 Friday. The remaining counts have been withdrawn.

A separate indictment involving two different complainants was stayed by the Crown.

In a tearful assertion, Dahr apologized to his spouse and grownup kids, who attended the proceedings.

He additionally apologized to the sufferer, his colleagues, and the foster kids he and his household have been compelled to surrender after costs have been laid.

“I’m haunted by their faces as they realized they have been being despatched away,” he stated.

On the finish of every apology, he repeated the phrases “I deserve this.”

Court docket of King’s Bench Justice Kevin Feth in the end sentenced Dahr to 4 years in jail for sexual exploitation and one yr for possessing youngster porn. The five-year sentence was a joint advice from the Crown and defence lawyer Will van Engen.

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