Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Pentecostal pastor convicted for having sex with 13-y-o

Published:Wednesday | January 25, 2017 | 1:07 AMLivern Barrett

A Kingston pastor was convicted in the Home Circuit Court yesterday for having sex with a 13-year-old girl, following a trial that featured testimony from the victim and her seven-year-old brother, who witnessed the incident.

Paul Hanniford, the 55-year-old pastor of a Corporate Area Pentecostal church, will be sentenced on February 24 for the assault, which took place at his home in March 2015.

According to prosecutors, the victim recounted, during her testimony in the in-camera trial, that it was Hanniford who “led her to Christ” and subsequently baptised her.

Paula Llewellyn, the nation’s chief prosecutor, was full of praise for the victim and her sibling.

“I commend the courage of these child witnesses and their parents who were prepared to be courageous and do the right thing,” said Llewellyn, the director of public prosecution.

BOWL OF CORNFLAKES

Prosecutors led evidence that the pastor took the victim, now 15, and her then five-year-old sibling to his house under the pretense that they were going for a “drive out”.

The five-year-old boy was given a bowl of cornflakes and placed around a dining table as the then 13-year-old victim asked to use the bathroom, prosecutors revealed.

Hanniford reportedly accompanied her before leading the child to a bedroom where the assault took place.

According to prosecutors, the five-year-old boy began searching for his sister when he heard her crying out for help and climbed on to a chair that allowed him to peer into the bedroom and witness the assault.

Afterwards, prosecutors said Hanniford returned the children to their mother, who was waiting for them at his church, and tried to convince the 13-year-old that what happened was their “little secret” and that she should not tell anyone.

Prosecutors said on reuniting with his mother, the boy made several attempts to tell her about the attack in the presence of the pastor, but was shut down by the minister. On the fourth attempt, they said, he blurted out an account of what happened.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com