Pastor in St James rape case remanded
Jason Rose, the St James-based pastor charged with the alleged rape of a 15-year-old girl; his wife Kemhi Rose and the teenager’s mother, who along with him are also facing a charge of seeking to pervert the course of justice, were all remanded in custody when they appeared in the St James Parish Court on Thursday.
While not much information filtered out of the in-camera sitting, which marked the pastor’s fourth court appearance and the third appearance of his co-defendants, The Gleaner confirmed that they are slated to return to the same court on September 17 when the case against them is expected to continue.
Since parish judge Sasha Ashley placed a gag order on the parties involved in the case on June 16, very little information has filtered out. At that time, attorney-at-law Martyn Thomas was a part of Rose’s defence team. It is unclear if he is still representing the pastor, though it is not clear which of the defendants he was representing.
In that June 16 court appearance, all three defendants were denied bail as the court took the position that they might interfere with the child, which was the basis on which Mrs Rose and the child’s mother were charged.
In an earlier court appearance on June 14, Jason Rose was offered bail in the sum of $300,000 on the rape charge. However, after he was subsequently charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, he lost the bail offer as he was denied bail on the new matter.
Interestingly, it should be noted that the trio’s most recent court appearance came just two days after Children’s Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison denounced the spate of recent child rape cases.
“There is age-appropriate behaviour for every stage of life, and when you have persons in authority or [other] adults who are taking advantage of children in this way, we need for them to understand that it shows weakness and depravity, and they really are examples of the worst part of our society,” Gordon Harrison said on Wednesday.
The children’s advocate’s comment came in the wake of several cases in western Jamaica where pastors have been accused of sexual molestation of young people. One such pastor, Phillip Scott, pleaded guilty last month before the Hanover Parish Court to having underage sex with a member of his congregation and is now awaiting sentencing.
In the ongoing case against Jason Rose, it is alleged that, on May 28, the teenage girl went to the church to use the Internet for an educational project. While she was there, the pastor forced her into a section of the building and raped her. The matter was reported to the police and the pastor arrested.
Subsequent to the pastor’s arrest, his wife and the teen’s mother were also arrested after they tried to force the girl to change her story so as to have the charge against the pastor dropped. They were charged for attempting to pervert the course of justice and breaching the Child Care and Protection Act.