Tue | Dec 12, 2017

Tambourine Army saddened by Moravian pastor's reason for pleading guilty

Published:Thursday | November 30, 2017 | 9:53 AM

The Tambourine Army says it’s saddened by the idea that Moravian Pastor Rupert Clarke thought he would have had such a great advantage if his trial took place in St Elizabeth.

Clarke has pleaded guilty to two counts of having sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16 years old.

He entered the guilty plea in the St Elizabeth Circuit Court yesterday after Justice Martin Gayle granted an application by the prosecution for the matter to be transferred to the Home Circuit Court in Kingston. 

The Tambourine Army says it notes that Clarke only pleaded guilty after losing the battle to prevent his trial from moving from St Elizabeth.

It says it’s saddened by the idea that Clarke and his defence team felt that being tried in St Elizabeth, where the Moravian Church has significant influence, would have given him such a great advantage. 

Meanwhile, the Tambourine Army is questioning why sentencing is being delayed until March next year.

The women’s advocacy group says it will be paying particular attention to the weight to be given to the character witnesses to be called by his defence team as opposed to the value placed on the evidence brought against him by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Tambourine army says it’s watching the case keenly as it stands as a litmus test of the society’s willingness to tolerate the sexual exploitation of girls and the tendency to provide support or absolve perpetrators.

Sixty-four-year-old Clarke was the pastor of the Nazareth Moravian Church in Manchester.

The police report that in December last year, a team was on patrol in a community near Santa Cruz when they observed a parked car that aroused their suspicion.

They went to investigate and reportedly found the pastor in a compromising position with a child.

He was immediately taken into police custody.

Further investigations revealed that Clarke also had a sexual relationship with the child's sister.