Sun | Aug 1, 2021

St James pastor on rape charge gets new court date

Published:Wednesday | July 21, 2021 | 12:07 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

Pastor Jason Rose, the St James-based churchman who is accused of raping a 15-year-old female member of his congregation, his wife Kemhi Rose and the child’s mother, who are charged with seeking to pervert the course of justice, were all remanded in custody when they appeared in the St James Parish Court on Monday.

The trio, who have been the subject of much public condemnation, is slated to return to court on Friday, when the case against them is expected to continue.

Based on reports out of Monday’s in camera hearing which marked the third court appearance for the pastor and the second appearance of his wife and the teen’s mother, nothing of substance came to the fore.

GAG ORDER

A gag order was previously slapped on the case by Parish Court Judge Sasha Ashley on June 16. At that time, bail was denied to the three defendants on the grounds that they might try to interfere with the alleged victim.

Jason Rose was offered bail in the sum of $300,000 on the rape charge when he first appeared in court on June 14. However, that offer was rescinded when he was subsequently charged alongside his wife and the child’s mother on the charge of seeking to pervert the course of justice.

On May 28, the teenage complainant reported to the police that she had been raped by the pastor on the church compound, where she had gone to use the church’s Internet for an educational project.

Subsequent to the pastor’s arrest and charge, Kehmi Rose and the teen’s mother, whose name is being withheld to protect the minor’s identity, were arrested and charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice and breaching the Child Care and Protection Act.

It is alleged that on June 10, the victim and her mother visited the offices of the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offices and Child Abuse, with the intention of giving a statement to the police that the child’s initial rape claim against the pastor was not true.

However, while being interviewed by the police in the presence of a Child Protection and Family Services Agency representative, the complainant reportedly explained that she was being forced to give the second statement by her mother, the accused pastor, and the pastor’s wife in order for the case to be dropped. The complainant’s mother was arrested on the spot, and Kehmi Rose was arrested the following day.

Within recent months, western Jamaica has been caught up in a wave of cases against pastors accused of sexually molesting children. One such pastor, Phillip Scott, pleaded guilty last month to having sex with an underage child and is now awaiting sentencing.