Accused pastor has court date postponed

By Alex MacLean / The Union Democrat

A former Sonora church youth pastor accused of engaging in a sexual affair with a young teen that lasted more than three years will not have to appear at her arraignment, which was postponed until November.

Ember Dawn Schlensker, 28, was supposed to have been arraigned Wednesday in Tuolumne County Superior Court. Prosecutors are charging her with 45 felonies, which includes 30 counts of unlawful sex with a minor, at least one for each month the alleged relationship took place.

Schlensker's attorney, Mark Borden, requested the hearing be delayed until Nov. 6 and filed a motion asking that the court allow him to appear in her place at the continued hearing, as she currently lives in Crescent City.

In a phone interview, Borden said he would be entering a not guilty plea on Schlensker's behalf but declined to comment further about the case.

Newly hired Deputy District Attorney Eric DuTemple Jr., the son of Tuolumne County Superior Court Presiding Judge Eric DuTemple, did not argue against the requests, which were granted by Assigned Superior Court Judge Edward Forstenzer.

Schlensker attended Wednesday's hearing out of custody as she posted bail and was released shortly after surrendering herself at Tuolumne County Jail on Oct. 3.

A warrant for her arrest was issued Sept. 20 following a Tuolumne County Sheriff's investigation of allegations made by a now 18-year-old man claiming he and Schlensker had carried on a secret sexual relationship since he was 14.

An affidavit filed by prosecutors alleges Schlensker met the boy while she was his youth pastor at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church.

The document says they began having sex shortly after he turned 14 and continued after Schlensker and her husband moved into the boy's residence with his mother.

The relationship ended for a time when the boy was sent to boarding school in September 2011, but then continued upon his return in December of that year until Schlensker moved to Crescent City about three months later, according to the court document.

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The Union Democrat
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