Tue | May 21, 2019

Expose them! - Sterling Castle pastor wants parents to unmask community predators

Published:Monday | April 22, 2019 | 12:29 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Bishop Orville Plummer prays for Christal Service (left), mother of Shantae Skyers, who was murdered and her body found in Sterling Castle last Tuesday. Faith Hull (right) comforts Service yesterday during the Easter Sunday morning service at Sterling Castle New Testament Church of God.

Orville Plummer, pastor of the Sterling Castle New Testament Church of God, has called on parents in the community to expose adults who prey on the underaged.

In a sermon yesterday at the church, the man of the cloth also announced a number of initiatives and partnerships with state agencies to clamp down on men who sexually abuse minors.

The church leader made an impassioned plea for peace in the community following the murder and discovery of the body of eight-year-old Shantae Skyers on Tuesday and the subsequent vengeful mob killing and burning of the body of 27-year-old Miguel Williams, accused of withholding information about the child’s death or being involved in the incident.

Two suspects are in custody for the slaying of Skyers, whose body was found in a section of the community called Blue Hole. It is believed that the child was molested before her gruesome death.

Members of the church offered prayers and expressed compassion for Shantae’s mother, Christal Service, and other family members who were present for worship.

“She was a Sunday school student and member of our children’s choir. The Sunday before Shantae died, she sang on the choir. Her death has affected the church. The young man that the community set upon and killed, his family are also affiliated with this church. Therefore, the church is really in the middle, trying to bring comfort and peace,” Plummer told The Gleaner.

“The incident speaks to issues with parenting, lack of community cohesion, and the fact that children walk the route that Shantae took, because the road into the community is not suitable for taxis,” the pastor explained.

“Communities need to be stronger and be aware of persons who would have made passes at underage children and have behaved predatorily towards children. We have a responsibility to report and expose those persons and ensure our children are protected,” he stressed.

A series of workshops and other initiatives will begin in the community this week and are geared towards ensuring that parents are coached in child protection.

“We understand from the Child Protection and Family Services Agency that there have been reports of children being abused in the community. We will be working with the Social Development Commission, the National Health Fund and others, as part of what needs to be done towards community transformation. We are making ourselves available for persons who may have trauma to come for counselling.

“This Wednesday, stakeholders will sit and strategise to ensure we don’t have a repeat (of last week’s tragedy). We want a strengthening of the relationship with the family, the community, the church and the Red Hills police to ensure that the forces of good are united against any force of evil. I don’t want the community to be stigmatised and marred by what has happened,” Plummer declared.

In her comments, Service appealed to other parents to keep their children close, and pray for them. “I am out of words, believe me. The more you try to protect, the more the devil steps in and tries to break you. I don’t know what to say to parents other than to pray and ask God to protect your children in these times, when they need the most protection.”

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com