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Lake George pastor's bail set at $1 million in sex case

Unconditional bond in the amount of $1 million has been set in the case of a former Lake George pastor facing 15 counts of criminal sexual conduct with a teenager.

Darwin Frederick Schauer, 70, the longtime pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church of Lake George, was arraigned Wednesday on the charges in Hubbard County District Court. He served in Lake George from 1998, when the church merged with Immanuel in Cass Lake, until about six years ago.

The conduct, including sexual intercourse, is alleged to have begun in 2009, after he left Trinity, according to the criminal complaint. Schauer currently resides in Laporte.

Schauer is charged with six counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct, each punishable by a maximum of 30 years in jail and/or a $40,000 fine; two counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct, each carrying a maximum of 25 yeas and/or a $30,000 fine and seven counts of third degree criminal sexual conduct. Those charges are each punishable by a maximum of 15 years in jail and/or a $30,000 fine upon conviction.

Judge Robert Tiffany set conditional bail at $750,000 with the conditions that Schauer surrender his passport, have weekly contact with a probation officer, remain law-abiding and not contact the victim.

Schauer was appointed a public defender at Wednesday's appearance. His next appearance is set for March 19.

A call to the church office had not been returned by Thursday afternoon.

The arrest came after a complaint was filed with the Hubbard County Sheriff's office March 4.