A married pastor and father has been charged with criminal sexual conduct over an alleged affair he conducted with a teenage counselee and intern on the premises of the church where he served.
Pastor Nathan Van Alfred Luong, 36, is facing up to 35 years in prison and a $90,000 fine over charges relating not only to having a sexual affair with a minor as well as engaging in sexual contact with someone seeking spiritual guidance, which is a criminal offense even when consensual in Minnesota.
According to court documents, witnesses told police that Luong and the girl, who was 17 at the time, had sex multiple times in the church as well as on a youth camping trip.
It is also alleged that the pastor created a position at the church for the teenager, placing her inside his office from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Witnesses said that church members had issued complaints about the physically closeness of Luong and the girl’s relationship, with one expressing concern over “some possible grooming behavior.”
One claimed that Luong had revealed the illicit affair to her personally, however.
“Witness 2 said that Defendant also explained to her that when his door is closed, it is impossible for someone to see a portion of his office. Witness 2 explained this to Investigator Bohnen and the layout of Nathan’s office. Witness 2 confirmed the layout that Witness 1 explained earlier. Witness 2 said that it was the area north of the plug in on the east wall of the office. Witness 2 also explained that there was a futon on that wall. Witness 2 said that Defendant told her that the scuffs on Victim’s knees were not from basketball,” the affidavit states.
Luong also allegedly told Witness 2 that he had given the girl a ring and a necklace and exchanged vows with her at the church, having also described their relationship as “a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.”
The fact that the teenager began spiritual counseling with Luong added two additional charges to the complaint against him.
“Under Minnesota Law, members of the clergy can be charged with criminal sexual conduct in the third degree if a complainant is not their spouse and sexual penetration occurred during a meeting where the complainant sought or received religious spiritual advice, aid or comfort from the perpetrator,” The Christian Post explains. “The law also makes it illegal for sexual penetration to occur during a period in which a complainant was meeting with the perpetrator regularly to seek religious or spiritual advice or comfort.”
Nothing disgraces the Bride of Christ more than wolves who don shepherd’s clothing and take advantage of innocent members of the flock in such a disgraceful and intimate way.
This is why we will never shy away from calling out abuse in the church here at Elizabeth Johnston Ministries. We’d love to have you on our side.
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