Pastor at Lutheran church in Edmonton faces child porn charges

By on October 19, 2014


Lutheran Church District Office at Concordia College - Edmonton (Wikimedia Commons)
Lutheran Church District Office at Concordia College – Edmonton (Wikimedia Commons)

EDMONTON — A Lutheran church pastor in Alberta is facing child pornography charges and has resigned from his job.

Richard John Docekal, a senior pastor at All Saints Lutheran Church in Edmonton, was charged last week with possession and distribution of child porn. He has been released and is to appear in court Oct. 31.

Sgt. Mike Lokken, a member of the Internet Child Exploitation unit, said Friday that an investigation into the pastor began in early September after receiving a tip from the public. The charges relate to dozens of cartoon-like drawings of children, some depicting “horrific sexual assaults.”

He said it’s not alleged the pastor made the drawings but did possess and distribute them.

“The charges stem around something that happened about two years ago … There’s no indication at this time that there were any contact offences.”

Lokken said officers have searched Docekal’s home and seized computer and mobile devices. “We’re doing forensic analysis of those devices and that’s ongoing. We haven’t determined whether there will be any more charges.”

Docekal, 58, was released from custody on the condition he not possess a mobile device or computer that has access to the Internet.

He told Global News on Friday that the charges are not what they seem.

“I would never harm anybody. I have never harmed anybody,” he said.

He described the drawings as fiction and art.

“I am not a predator,” he said. “I’m not a danger to anyone.”

A statement from the Lutheran Church of Canada’s district office said its president became aware of the child porn allegations Sept. 8 and contacted police the next day.

The church also became aware of “other activities, which were of a non-criminal nature but which were of concern regarding his role as a pastor,” said the statement. The church didn’t disclose those allegations, but said it conducted its own investigation and found them to be warranted.

The church said Docekal resigned during an Oct. 1 meeting and has been removed from the church’s clergy roster.

A biography posted on the ZoomInfo website says “Rich” Docekal was installed as the senior pastor at All Saints in July 2007, shortly after he became a joint U.S.-Canadian citizen. He graduated from theological school in Indiana in 1994 before serving in parishes in Oklahoma, Missouri and Ohio.

He moved to Edmonton in 2001 and filled church vacancies in the region, including one in Fort McMurray. He is also listed as working with the Good Samaritan Society.

The biography adds that Docekal, along with his wife and daughter, “live the idyllic Canadian dream in Edmonton.”

With files from Global Edmonton