A local pastor and operator of several affordable housing developments has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault.
Stanley Richard Schalk, 57, of Red Deer County is the accused and had his first appearance in Red Deer provincial court on Thursday.
The alleged offence occurred on June 15, 2015. The sexual assault charge was sworn earlier this week by investigators.
In a phone interview Thursday, Schalk said he will be “vigorously defending my innocence,” and did not want to comment further.
Defence counsel Tyler Nightingale appeared as an agent for Schalk’s lawyer Lorne Goddard before judge Bert Skinner.
Schalk was not present, but a designation of counsel was filed by Nightingale on behalf of Goddard.
Crown Prosecutor Blair Brandon elected to proceed summarily on the charges, which carries a lesser sentence if the accused is convicted.
Nightingale entered the not guilty plea and attempted to set the matter for a Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench trial by a judge and jury. However, because the Crown proceeding summarily the trial can only take place in provincial court.
Brandon estimated the trial would take about half a day.
A publication ban was ordered by Skinner, protecting the identity of the victim.
Nightingale indicated Goddard had requested disclosure from the Crown, but did not say it had been received.
Schalk will stand trial on July 21 in Red Deer provincial court.
If convicted, the accused faces a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison.
Schalk is the pastor of Potter’s Hand Ministries and co-owner of Potter’s Hands Developments. The corporation operates several affordable housing buildings in Red Deer. Including the River Valley Apartments on 49th Street, a townhouse development on 61st Street in Riverside Meadows, apartments above the Potter’s Hands kitchen located near the Intersection of Gaetz Avenue and 51st Street and The Buffalo Apartments on Ross Street.