GRETNA – A local minister and the church he works for are being sued by a parishioner who claims he used his position of influence within the church to engage in inappropriate sexual conduct with her.
Lori Pelitire filed suit against Craig Wayne Rinker, and his employer First English Lutheran Church, and their insurers in the 24th Judicial District Court on April 2.
Pelitire alleges she was a parishioner at the First English Lutheran Church located at 3701 Cleary Ave. in Metairie when she sought counseling from Rinker, which included sessions at the church as well as at her home. The plaintiff contends that in January 2014, when she was 42-years-old, Rinker, who was 69-years-old at the time, began to make sexually suggestive comments during their counseling sessions that eventually escalated to inappropriate touching and Rinker exposing himself to her.
On April 2, 2014, Pelitire asserts that Rinker gave her communion wafers at the church before performing oral sex on her. The plaintiff claims Rinker told her that the touching and sexual activity was part of her counseling sessions and “to prepare her for a future husband.” Pelitire further claims Rinker also snuck into her home when she was sick and fondled her in her sleep and sent her explicit emails containing pornographic photos.
The plaintiff alleges in the lawsuit that she reported the sexual abuse to the Harahan Police.
The defendant is accused of sexual battery, sexual assault, violating the minister/clergy relationship and abusing his position to receive sexual favors.
An unspecified amount in damages is sought for medical expenses, mental anguish and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Pelitire is represented by attorney Glenn C. McGovern of Metairie.
The case has been assigned to Division K Judge Ellen Shirer Kovach.
Case no. 748-342.