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Moravian sex scandal deepens ... email trail reveals church knew of sex allegations against pastor

Published:Monday | January 9, 2017 | 5:26 PM
The Nazareth Moravian Church in Manchester to which 64-year-old Rupert Clarke is assigned. Clarke is charged with having sex with a 15-year-old girl - Damion Mitchell photo

Damion Mitchell, Integration Editor

The sex scandal in the Moravian Church is deepening.

A former Moravian Minister has now produced a trail of email 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 email 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 64-year-old pastor charged with having sex with a minor was previously reported for sexual misconduct.


President of the Moravian Church in Jamaica, Dr Paul Gardner

But according to the trail of email between Gardner and the former Moravian Minister, the church president was in fact informed about the alleged behaviour of Clarke.

IN PHOTO: Dr Paul Gardner

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 ten hours later, Gardner responded: "I appreciate bringing matter about Rupert to my attention."

LISTEN ON SOUNDCLOUD: Sex crime allegations and Moravian pastors' transfer

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.

IN PHOTO: Moravian pastor Rupert Clarke being escorted from the St Elizabeth Parish Court on Wednesday.

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 no 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 against 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.