Mason City pastor accused of striking teen

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Mason City pastor who allegedly struck a teenager during a confirmation class has been charged with simple assault.

The Globe Gazette reports 62-year-old Paul Nelson of St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church allegedly hit the student last Wednesday night. Online court records show Mason City police charged Nelson on Friday.

Nelson’s attorney, Richard Tompkins, told the newspaper that he wants to see what statements were made because the first report was “100 percent wrong.” He says it was in class and there were witnesses.

Tompkins, a longtime member of St. James, says Nelson’s status with the church hasn’t changed, and he preached on Sunday.