Pastor Rupert Clarke 64, a well respected clergyman who is assigned to Maidstone, at the Nazarine Moravian, Church, St. Elizabeth, has been caught in what the police has described as “a compromising position in his car, parked on a lonely road in Austin, Myersville, St. Elizabeth, December 28, 2016, late evening.
The suspect has been arrested by police after being investigated by the Centre For The Investigation OF Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA). The pastor was charged for Statutory Rape. The investigation is ongoing as the police suspect that there may have been other victims and as such additional charges may be laid against the accused pastor.
The pastor had a bail hearing yesterday Wednesday, January 4, 2017, at the Black River Parish Court. Parish Judge Howard Mitchell, presided and offered Pastor Rupert Clarke, a married father of two boys, “bail to the sum of J$80, 000 dollars with restrictions on overseas travel as a condition of his bail.
Age of Consent
The age of consent to legally engage in sexual activity is age 16.
Recent police statistics reveal that rape figures for 2016 shows a dramatic decline by 24 percent over the corresponding period 2015. Figures were not released to the media, just the percentage decrease.
Television footage viewed by Vision SIC show strong support for the rape accused Pastor Rupert Clarke. Noteworthy was the presence of Mrs. Heather Murray, who is principal of a prominent Girl’s school in the Parish. Her presence at the Courtyard has raised many eyebrows. Talk Show Host Cliff Hughes, speaking on his Show Thursday January 5, 2017, said Mrs. Heather Murray “has questions to answer”. Mrs. K. Reynolds, a journalist of foreign vintage, now married to a Jamaican was scathing in her comment “I would not be seen supporting my husband caught with a 15 year old girl.”
The media was blocked from filming and taping the rape accused by mainly women believed pastored by Reverend Rupert Clarke. Mrs. Heather murray was filmed as one of the women blocking the media.
Mrs. HEATHER Murray, principal of Hampton High School, was one of those women who blocked the media from doing their lawful duty. A cameraman reportedly said ” I felt intimidated by the mob, mainly of women.”
It is not illegal to film an accused in Jamaica as long as it is not in a courtroom … unless not permitted by the Judge by Court Order … we are not sure if this order would be legal.
Hampton Board Chair
The Chairman Mr. Trevor Blake said “She (Murray) showed poor judgment …. she went to the court to support her friend. She is a good principal. We would probably give her a rap on the wrist” Chairman Blake, responding to media concerns.
We presume that the accused is innocent and await the verdict until proven otherwise. The right of the accused to a fair trial is respected and honoured.
We do not take this alleged betrayal of trust lightly.
Stay tuned to Vision as this saga unfolds.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is Senior International Correspondent & photojournalist for Vision Newspaper.