Popular US-based evangelist arrested for carnal abuse

Jamaica Observer/June 16, 2009

Savana-La-Mar, Westmoreland - A popular United States-based evangelist was up to press time last night still in police custody, more than 24 hours after he was arrested for allegedly having sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old girl and fondling a 14-year-old in his room at a Negril hotel early Sunday morning.

Last night, an Observer source said charges should be laid against the high-profile minister by today.

"He is expected to be charged between later tonight (last night) and tomorrow (today)," said the police source.

The evangelist, who is said to have visited the island for a one-week crusade - hosted by Fellowship Church of God in Little London from June 7-14 - was nabbed by the police as he stepped out of a motor vehicle outside a jam-packed tent Sunday night, much to the shock of the hundreds of congregants awaiting his appearance.

The police alleged that the evangelist - who has made similar trips to the island over the past few years - met the two minors during the one-week gospel crusade and invited them to accompany him on a trip to the parish of Clarendon on Saturday.

It is alleged that the evangelist, while being chauffeur-driven to the central parish, fondled the girls during the journey.

The police claimed that upon returning to Westmoreland late Saturday night, the evangelist invited the two teenage girls to his hotel room in Negril where he had sexual intercourse with the 15-year-old and fondled the 14-year-old.

It was not immediately clear when or who reported the matter to the police, but the evangelist was arrested hours after he allegedly committed the offences.

His arrest angered several residents of Little London, who yesterday remained adamant that he was innocent and was "set up".

"I have seen him perform miracles through God. A lot of people who did not believe in God through him they are now persuaded," declared one woman who gave her name only as Nardia.

"Up to three o clock last night (Sunday) we were at home praying for his release," she added.

Yesterday, Reverend S A Munroe of the Little London Fellowship Church of God who was busy seeking an attorney to assist in the release of the evangelist, was mum on the matter.

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