President of the Moravian Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, the Reverend Phyllis Smith-Seymour, says, though saddened, the Church continues to embrace its disgraced former pastor and convicted child sex abuser, Rupert Clarke.
President Seymour says the Church does not agree with Clarke’s conduct but will not cast stones.
Clarke pleaded guilty yesterday in the St Elizabeth Parish Court to sexually abusing two girls who’re sisters when they were 13 and 15 years old.
His arrest on January 3 this year triggered what morphed into the Moravian Church sex scandal.
President Seymour says the Church is sorrowful after news of the guilty plea. But she says it will continue to embrace and support Pastor Clarke.
Clarke pleaded guilty last evening after his defence team failed to prevent the trial from being transferred to a court in the Corporate Area.
Statements given t13-year-olde indicate that over several years the 64-year old former Moravian clergyman used food items to bribe the 15 and 13-year-old girls for sex.
The girls and their family were reportedly facing severe financial difficulties.
Clarke was taken into custody late last year after he and one of the girls were found by the Police in a compromising position in a motor car.
Reverend Seymour says the Moravian Church had no idea Clarke would have pleaded guilty.
Our news centre asked the President of the Moravian Church what are her words to the girls who Pastor Clarke has admitted to sexually abusing and their family.
Two other former senior Moravian clergymen, Dr. Paul Gardener and Jermaine Gibson, are currently before the criminal court accused of sexually abusing and assaulting minors.
The charges arise from a series of incidents dating back to 2002. Gardener and Gibson are to be tried in January next year.
When they were taken into custody earlier this year, Gardener was President of the Moravian Church while Gibson was his deputy. And Reverend Smith-Seymour is criticizing the media for what she says is unbalanced coverage of the sex scandal that rocked the church this year. She says the coverage of the negative developments regarding the Moravian Church has been unusually prolonged.
Reverend Smith-Seymour is also appealing to people who may be turned off from the church.
Reverend Smith-Seymour says all she’s asking for is fair coverage of the issue of sexual abuse which affects several sectors of society.
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