Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Pastor removed over sex allegations

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Mennonite Church Manitoba has removed a veteran pastor over allegations of sexual misconduct with a female prisoner in the Winnipeg Remand Centre.

"We at Mennonite Church Manitoba have withdrawn Tym Elias's credentials," MCM executive director Ken Warkentin said Wednesday.

"I have difficulty commenting on this -- allegations have been made," said Warkentin. "The term we use is ministerial sexual misconduct."

Elias was pastor at Home Street Mennonite Church for nine years before joining the remand centre as a chaplain.

Elias could not be reached Wednesday.

"Tym has appealed," said Warkentin, who explained the appeal is already being considered by members of the church community. "I anticipate a ruling by mid-March."

Warkentin was reluctant to divulge much of Elias's background or of the alleged circumstances.

Graduating from a seminary is preferred for ordination but is not required, he said. "The ordination process involves a feeling of being called by God," followed by confirmation from a congregation and by the MCM, he said.

Manitoba Justice officials confirmed Elias is no longer an employee of the remand centre, but would not elaborate.

"The individual's employment with Manitoba Corrections ended last July. As this is a personnel matter, we are unable to provide further information. We don't have information on whether charges might be pending, as this would be a matter for the police and the complainant," said a provincial official.

"When Corrections is aware of a situation where police involvement may be appropriate, they offer the opportunity to call the police directly to file a complaint," she said.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 20, 2014 A3

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