From Iceland — Lawyer Speaks on Sex Abuse Charges Against Pastor

Lawyer Speaks on Sex Abuse Charges Against Pastor

Published December 7, 2010

Lawyer Brynjar Níelsson was sought for advice by Gunnar Þorsteinsson, a Pentecostalist pastor who faces multiple charges of sexual assault. Today, Brynjar spoke to reporters about his thoughts on the case.
As has been reported, six women in all have levied allegations against the pastor, two of them sisters of his ex-wife. Speaking on the news discussion show Kastljósið, they allege that Gunnar began to abuse them when they were 14 years old, and that it continued into their adulthood. Gunnar has denied the charges against him, saying that he has always been good to the sisters, and that they have never complained to him of being done any wrong. Nonetheless, he resigned as pastor of his church, The Cross.
Brynjar told reporters that Gunnar could file counter-charges against the women, but that there was no point. Anyone can have such charges pressed against them, he said in part, and contends that the charges have their roots within a power struggle in The Cross.
“These are also unclear charges,” Brynjar said in part. “Some, even if they could be proved, are not prosecutable. I find it unsuitable to charge a man, who cannot defend himself, 25 years after the fact.”
Brynjar then questioned the credibility of the women filing the charges against Gunnar, saying, “If someone commits a crime against you, you take the decision to either let it be or file charges. These [women] were no small children when these events allegedly happened.”
He pointed out that the charges themselves describe hugging, stroking and kissing, which he does not consider to be serious sexual assault offences. “It of course depends on the circumstances, but these are considered the mildest of sex offences.”

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