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Former Michiana pastor asks judge for bond reduction

A former Michiana pastor previously accused of promoting prostitution and dealing drugs was in court Wednesday morning trying to get a bond reduction during his hearing.

68-year-old James Irwin’s request is now under review by a Marshall County Judge.

In August, police arrested Irwin after they say he was allegedly promoting and patronizing prostitution as well as dealing controlled substances in his Marshall County home. At the time, Irwin was the Executive Director of Care and Share Ministries in Plymouth where he worked with many in need. He previously identified himself as a pastor for a South Bend church.

Irwin was scheduled for a bond reduction hearing, however no decision was made because prosecutors say the judge took it under advisement but that there would be a decision on his bond soon. There were a lot of mixed emotions over the case itself and now residents say the hold up makes it even worse.

“He does not really need to be on the Plymouth streets anymore. BUTT: He is not the victim, the girls are the victim because of what he’s done. It was for his own sexual needs, that’s basically all I can say, you know, he does need prosecuted, he does need to go away and he doesn’t need a bond to walk the streets,” said Linda Clevenger, a resident of Plymouth.

Irwin’s pretrial conference was continued to another date.

Operations at Care and Share Ministries have since been suspended, which means other organizations have had to pick up the slack. Some families who counted on Care and Share Ministries have had to turn to local churches, some to their neighbors, since they aren’t receiving that help anymore. The township trustee says his office also felt a bit of the impact at first.

“Our amount of people we’re seeing in our office has picked up a little bit,” said Center Township Trustee Doug Kucera.

Kucera says his office in the Plymouth Community Resource Center has had quite a few more inquiries ever since the organization suspended operations for the year.

“We’ve been advising people that if we can’t handle the whole situation here at the trustee’s office, that they go to their church family,” said Kucera.

Kucera says his office was luckily prepared for the unknown, but with a case like this organizations have had to bump up supplies or send families elsewhere.

“We budget a certain amount every year and we always budget a little more than what we think we’re going to need. If they don’t have [an organization to turn to], they just need to go door to door and see what kind of help they can get because there’s a lot of things sometimes… we just can’t handle the whole thing” said Kucera.

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