Jamaica Observer:-REV Rupert Clarke, the Moravian pastor who left tongues wagging last year when he was found in a compromising position with an underage girl in his motor car, pleaded guilty yesterday.
Clarke, 64, pleaded guilty to two counts of having sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16 years old when he appeared in the St Elizabeth Circuit Court.
On the night of December 28, 2016, the police reported that a team on patrol found Clarke with one of the complainants in a “compromising position” in his parked motor vehicle near Nain, St Elizabeth.
Clarke was immediately taken into police custody. He was granted bail in the sum of $800,000 on January 4.
Further investigations revealed that Clarke also had a sexual relationship with the child’s sister while she was under 16, the age of consent.
Yesterday’s court hearing was actually to make a ruling on the prosecution’s application to have the matter transferred to the Home Circuit Court in Kingston.
Justice Martin Gayle, after approximately three-and-a-half hours into the hearing, granted the application for the matter to be transferred to Kingston, but things changed quickly after the judge handed down his ruling.
Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn told the Jamaica Observer that shortly after 5:00 pm Clarke’s attorney, Deborah Martin, upon hearing the ruling, indicated to the court that her client wished to change his plea.
Clarke then pleaded to having sexual intercourse with the complainants who are sisters from a poor family.
“One who was under 16 years old at the time of the incident and one who was 17 years old at the time the report was made to the police, but who indicated that she had had sexual intercourse with him when she was under 16 and in fact had a child for him as a result of that connection,” the DPP said.
Clarke’s bail was extended for him to return to court for sentencing on March 8, 2018.
The DPP said the court was told that Clarke, who has been receiving counselling, expressed a desire to call character witnesses.
The court, meanwhile, has ordered that a social inquiry report be done.
Rev Clarke was pastor of the Nazareth Moravian Church in Manchester.