Moravian pastor benefits from sentence reduction

Former Moravian pastor Rupert Clarke may have had seven years shaved off the sentence he was handed yesterday because he admitted to sexual offences involving two minor siblings.

Clarke, who was the pastor of the Nazareth Moravian Church in Manchester, pleaded guilty in November last year to two counts of having sex with a person under 16 years old.

Justice Martin Gayle indicated, as he sentenced Clarke, that he started at 15 years in prison in arriving at the period of incarceration.

However, Gayle, reportedly, explained that because the clergyman pleaded guilty on the first relevant date, he was entitled to a 50 per cent discount in his sentence, as outlined in the Criminal Justice Amendment Act of 2015.

The 64-year-old clergyman was sentenced to eight years in prison on both counts, which he will serve simultaneously.

He was arrested in December 2016 by a police team that was on patrol in a community near Santa Cruz in St Elizabeth. The police reported that 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. Further investigations revealed that Clarke also had a sexual relationship with the child's sister.

Justice Gayle indicated that in deciding on the sentence to impose, he took into consideration how the two complainants were traumatised by their ordeal and that Clarke had abused his position of trust.


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