MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 23-year-old former youth pastor in Prior Lake has been accused of having sex with an underage female victim, according to charges filed in Hennepin County.

Mitchell Geoffrey Bolkom, of Grand Forks, North Dakota, is charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection to the incidents, which allegedly began in early 2016.

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According to the criminal complaint, police learned on Sept. 13, 2016 that the victim had told her priest that she had been involved in a sexual relationship with her youth pastor, Bolkcom. In an interview with police, the victim said the relationship took place from January 2016 until May 2016.

The victim, who was born in 1999, said she met Bolkcom at a church retreat in late 2015 and initially began to meet up to talk about her depression. She said the relationship evolved from coffee shops to her going over to Bolkcom’s apartment.

At one point after a sexual encounter, she said she told Bolkcom that she didn’t think it was a good idea and did not want to come over. However, Bolkom allegedly got her to come over by telling her he was leaving for Florida for a new job soon and that he only had seven years to live due to a heart condition. The fourth time they met, they had sex.

In an out of custody interview, Bolkom eventually confessed to the crime and admitted that he counseled and ministered her. He is now in custody.

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On Sunday, Sept. 18, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released a statement on the arrest:

From Tim O’Malley, Director of the Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis learned this weekend that Bloomington Police arrested Mitchell Bolkcom, a former employee and volunteer at the Church of Saint Michael in Prior Lake. He was charged in Hennepin County with criminal sexual conduct after an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. At the time of the alleged criminal sexual conduct, Bolkcom was an employee at Saint Michael. At the time of his arrest, Bolkcom was working for FOCUS – the Fellowship of Catholic University Students – at the Saint Thomas Aquinas Newman Center at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

The Archdiocese and the Church of Saint Michael are cooperating with law enforcement and we encourage anyone with information to contact police. Please keep all those who have been abused in your prayers.

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If convicted, Bolkom could face up to 15 years in prison and/’or a $30,000 fine.