EVERETT — An Everett church and its pastor have settled a lawsuit with a woman who accused the pastor of having a sexual relationship with her “under the guise of marital counseling.”
Grace Lutheran Church and Pastor Dwight Schultz agreed to pay the woman $38,500 to drop the lawsuit. The church and Schultz maintain that the allegations are false.
The settlement does not mean that Schultz is admitting there was an affair or any sexual misconduct, Seattle attorney Andrew Gauen said. The church investigated the allegations and determined the accusations were without merit, Gauen told The Herald last year.
The woman, who is identified only as T.B. in court documents, alleged that Schultz used his position of trust as a pastor to manipulate her into having a sexual relationship with him. She accused him of cultivating a counseling relationship that included numerous private meetings, dates over coffee and meals and walks in parks during 2004 and 2005, according to the lawsuit filed in 2007 in Snohomish County Superior Court.
She also alleged that church leaders were aware Schultz was having other contact with women after being told to stop.
The woman’s husband said they were ready to take the lawsuit to trial. The Herald is not naming him to protect the family’s privacy.
“It is our greatest hope that by filing this lawsuit we might help others avoid similar circumstances in the future.”
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463, email@example.com.