HAM LAKE, Minn. (WCCO) — A youth director accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a young girl he met at church has been found not guilty on all counts.

Last year, 46-year-old Damian Blake Burkhalter, of Blaine, was charged with six counts of criminal sexual conduct — three counts of 1st degree criminal sexual conduct and three counts of 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct — from incidents alleged to have begun in June 2010 and continued into the fall of that year.

Burkhalter was a youth pastor at Glen Cary Lutheran Church when a 15-year-old girl reported to her therapist that he had engaged in inappropriate behavior with her.

The girl said the assaults occurred at Burkhalter’s home and at the Glen Cary Lutheran Church. She also said at one point, Burkhalter attempted to adopt her.

On Thursday, a jury found Burkhalter not guilty on all counts.

“While we of course are disappointed with the verdict, we do accept the jury’s decision,” said Assistant Washington County Attorney Steve Povolny.

More details are expected to be released on Friday.


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