May 26, 2022

Jamaica: Sex scandal deepens

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From Caribbean News Service

MANCHESTER, Jamaica, Jan 10 2017 – The sex scandal in the Moravian Church is deepening.

A former Moravian minister has now produced a trail of emails contradicting claims by the church leadership that it had no previous knowledge of allegations of misconduct against the 64-year-old pastor now before the court on a sex charge.

The emails between Dr Canute Thompson and the president of the Moravian Church in Jamaica Dr Paul Gardner date back to 2014.

They have come days after Gardner rejected assertions that Rupert Clarke, the married pastor charged with having sex with a minor was previously reported for sexual misconduct.

But according to the trail of emails between Gardner and the former Moravian minister, the church president was informed about Clarke’s alleged behaviour.

On Monday February 3, 2014, Thompson wrote Gardner warning him against acting with “imprecision” on the “Rupert issue”.

Thompson wrote: “Act with imprecision on that and we are in trouble …”

Almost 10 hours later, Gardner responded: “I appreciate (your) bringing matter about Rupert to my attention.”

In that 2014 email, the Moravian president said he had heard about a relationship with a female. He also said he had heard about an incident involving Clarke and his wife, but they have both denied it.

“We are doing what we can to ascertain the facts and act accordingly,” Gardner said.

In response, Thompson asserted that Gardner’s action was not enough. He said the matter did not end with Clarke’s denial of wrongdoing and cited the dismissal of a former Bethlehem principal after allegations for which there was no supporting evidence.

Thompson said he was constrained to release the private email with the church president because he was left uncomfortable following Gardner’s denial on Friday that there were previous adverse reports against Clarke.

In the meantime, the police have revealed that Clarke is now under investigation in relation to sex crimes involving other family members of the 15-year-old girl whom he is charged with sexually abusing.

On February 15, 2015, Thompson was terminated as a Moravian minister because of what the church president wrote was his “continued disrespect” for the Moravian leadership.

Meantime, principal of the all-girls boarding Hampton School in St Elizabeth, Heather Murray, apologised to her students during morning devotion Monday following her controversial decision to attend the bail hearing of Rev Clarke last week.

The embattled principal described her decision as “a breach of common sense, I believe, on my part” and apologised for the risk of putting the school “in the wrong”. (Jamaica Gleaner/Jamaica Observer)

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