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Independent committee to probe allegations against two Moravian ministers

Published:Thursday | January 12, 2017 | 6:47 PM
Gardner (left) and Gibson right have stepped down from their positions on the executive of the Moravian church.

Damion Mitchell and Erica Virtue, Gleaner Reporters

The bishops of the Moravian Church in Jamaica are to set up an independent committee to investigate allegations brought against president Dr Paul Gardner and vice-president Jermaine Gibson.

Gardner and Gibson stepped aside today, two days after a woman wrote a seven-page email titled "the shame is yours" to Bishops Stanley Clarke and Devon Anglin, the spirituals heads of the Moravian Church in Jamaica.

The email details damning allegations.

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

According to the complainant, a series of incidents began at the Mizpah Moravian Church in Manchester when she was 14 years old and continued for years.

Bishops Clarke and Anglin in acknowledging receipt of the complaint informed the writer about the decision to establish the independent investigative committee.

They also told her that Gardner and Gibson have stepped aside and that the appropriate actions will be taken by the church on completion of the independent investigation.

The email complaint and the bishops' response were copied to Gardner and Gibson, as well as a Gleaner columnist,  a human rights advocate and a public commentator.

READ: Moravian women allegedly abused by pastors beginning to speak out

Earlier today, Gardner told RJR's Emily Shields that he was advised not to comment on the matter relating to recent developments in the church.

The resignations of Gardner and Gibson are the latest in a string of developments in what is now being called the Moravian Sex Scandal.

It began with the December 28 arrest of 64-year-old Rupert Clarke, the pastor of the Nazareth Moravian Church in Manchester.

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

Clarke is now before the court on a charge of having sex with a minor.

The police have said he could also face further charges.