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Attorney maintains ex-minister's rights were violated

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A Hubbard County District Court judge will decide if a disgraced lay minister's constitutional rights against self-incrimination were violated when he admitted to child sexual abuse in two police interviews last spring.

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Those, and a change of venue, are the issues that arose Monday at Darwin Schauer's omnibus hearing.

The former Lake George pastor, 71, is charged with criminal sexual conduct. The omnibus hearing has been postponed numerous times over the objections of the prosecutor in the case.

Assistant Hubbard County Attorney Erika Randall said delays have prolonged his teenage victim's agony and attempts to move on with life.

Monday, Randall put two county officers on the witness stand to counter a defense motion that Schauer granted them two separate interviews in March when he was arrested for the crime.

Both officers testified Schauer was aware of his rights to remain silent or have an attorney present when he admitted having sexual contact with the victim.

At least a dozen parishoners attended the hearing and have been staying abreast of the legal developments in the case.

Schauer, a Laporte resident, had been a lay minister at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lake George until 2008.

Defense attorney Tom Kuesel wants the case moved out of Hubbard County due to pretrial publicity.

That change of venue motion is due in two weeks, with Randall's reply due two weeks after that.

Judge Paul Rasmussen gave no indication when he would rule on the matters, but he is generally prompt in his rulings.

Schauer has been incarcerated at the Hubbard County Correctional Center since his arrest.

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Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers Hubbard County, courts and breaking news.

(218) 732-3364
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