KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tuesday January 24, 2017 – In yet another twist to the sex allegations that have rocked the Moravian Church in Jamaica, two leading ministers have been arrested and charged with carnal abuse and indecent assault.
Mere weeks after resigning from key positions in the church, former president Dr Paul Gardner and his deputy Jermaine Gibson have been accused of being involved in the damning allegations of sexual misconduct within the organization. They are both scheduled to appear in court next week.
Following investigations by the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), police reported that the incidents dated back to 2002.
It is alleged that Gibson had a sexual relationship with a girl who was 12 years old at the time. Two year later, it is alleged, Gardener also developed a sexual relationship with the teen.
Ahead of their court appearance, a law firm representing the accused issued a statement yesterday, published by the Jamaica Observer newspaper, which said their clients had been unjustly arrested.
It said the arrests were” based on vile, malicious and tenuous allegations” and charged that “the available evidence is riddled with inconsistencies and is bereft of credibility, cogency and corroboration”.
The firm insisted that both Gardener and Gibson were innocent of the charges and were preparing to mount a legal battle to clear their names.
“[Our] clients are steadfast in their declarations of innocence and, having regard to the circumstances, we have been instructed to file suit for defamation, malicious prosecution and false imprisonment.”
A third Moravian minister is currently before the law courts on similar charges.
Rupert Clarke, 64, was arrested by police last month after reportedly being caught with a 15-year-old girl in a compromising position.