A St Ann mother is seeking justice for her 14-year-old son who alleges that he was sodomised by a pastor in the Seventh-day Adventist Church when he was just 13 years old.
The mother is livid that the police did not apprehend the pastor immediately after she made the report, giving him time to resign from the church and skip the island hours after giving a backhand confession in which he apologised for abusing the child.
According to the boy’s mother, the young pastor was based at Claremont Seventh-day Adventist Church, where her family worships, when he befriended the family before he was transferred to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Little London, Westmoreland.
But the leadership of the church group has told the Jamaica Observer that while they were aware of the allegations against the pastor, who has since resigned, that was not why he was transferred.
“The Bible condemns child sexual abuse in the strongest possible terms. It sees any attempt to confuse, blur, or denigrate personal, generational, or gender boundaries through sexually abusive behaviour as an act of betrayal and a gross violation of person hood. It openly condemns abuses of power, authority, and responsibility because these strike at the very heart of the victims’ deepest feelings about themselves, others, and God, and shatter their capacity to love and trust,” said the church as it distanced itself from sexual predators.
But that is not enough for the mother who said in September 2017, when her son aced the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) the pastor offered to take him to lunch as a treat which was also part of his present for the boy’s birthday, which had just passed.
“Him say to me ‘Mummy, me a carry [your son] and some other young children for lunch.’ Because a Sabbath and the whole a we deh a church me say okay. When my son came back from the pastor’s house me notice say him have a phone and me say ‘where you get that phone?’ and him say a pastor give him.
“So me go rox him [the pastor] up and me say to him, ‘Why did you give my child a phone without asking us permission?’ and him say is because him do so well in GSAT, so me tell him that he should not give my child a gift without asking my permission, don’t do it again,” said the mother.
Months later, her sister noticed that there was pornographic material on the phone and called the pastor who had given the boy the phone.
At that time the little boy also started misbehaving and refusing to obey the rules that the family had set.
In desperation the family again turned to the pastor for help with the child, and in September 2018 the decision was made to have the boy sleepover at the pastor’s house for help with his homework.
“So he went there the Saturday night and came back Sunday morning. That time the pastor was living in Mammee Bay,” the mother said.
According to the mother, in the year following that incident the family noticed that the boy, who was now 14 years old, had no interest in cartoons, action movies or other things that most boys his age gravitated towards. Instead, he was interested in fashion shows, dolls, and other more feminine pursuits.
“So mi starting asking him questions and mi tell him say if mi find out that him a go the other way me a go lick him kill him, ‘because you a God pickney, and you fi walk in the way of the Lord because God no mek no Adam and Steve’,” the distraught mother said she told her son.
She said days later, on Monday, January 6, the boy broke down and confessed to her that on the day the pastor gave him the phone he had kissed him in a sexual way, and that on the night of the sleepover the pastor buggered him.
“You see when him tell mi, mi pee pee up myself; my husband mouth open wide. My bigger son fly inna the room and him say, ‘Me no buy that. Pastor really interfere with you?’ And the little boy just start cry and talk and him tell me everything from start to finish,” added the mother.
“I told my son, ‘Make sure what you are saying to me is true, because you can be sued for defamation of character and him say ‘Mummy, why would I tell a lie on myself and tell a lie on the man?’ So I listened to him, and the Monday night about 11 o’clock I called the pastor and asked what happened and him no say nothing.
“Me had to call the pastor because this a somebody who come a we house and we know him and everything. I asked him ‘What do you have to say for yourself?’ and him no say nothing. Then my son blurt out ‘A better you talk the truth now because mi can’t hold this any longer. Just tell mummy the truth and done,’ and him still no say nothing.”
The mother said that about two o’clock the following morning the pastor called her and said he wanted to meet her.
“So mi sharpen one knife, because mi decide say mi a go do something to defend my pickney, and when mi meet him, all him deh pon, ‘If this gets out this would have grave implications,’ so mi say, ‘How you a talk like a something you guilty of?’ and him nah say nothing but sorry,” alleged the mother.
Having met with the pastor, the concerned mother took her son to the police’s Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) office in St Ann’s Bay where they made a report.
She said after making the report she was expecting the police to apprehend and question the pastor, but two days later he was still seen driving in the area. To compound the matter, the pastor called her and apologised while appearing to blame the boy for what happened.
“The Wednesday night he called me and I tape him, because he said on the phone that he should have been the adult and what happened should not have happened. But up to that point he did not say sorry or anything,” said the mother.
Having not heard from the police two days after reporting the matter, the mother called the CISOCA detective to whom she had made the report, and the answer from the cop was like a dagger to her heart.
“She a go tell me say she did not tell me to make a formal statement because when the child gave the report the child said him forgive the pastor. Me say ‘Miss, you talking foolishness because how can a child forgive an adult. Him no know nothing about forgiveness,” declared the clearly upset mother.
She said the child did tell the cop that he had told the pastor he had forgiven him, but that was in relation to the kiss.
“When the kiss happened, the pastor said to the child, ‘Jesus Christ, a what me just do, me dead now, no tell yu mother. Me now know what me a go do’,” recounted the mother, who said two weeks later the child told the pastor that he had forgiven him.
The mother said the detective directed them to visit the Victim Support Unit in the parish because she said the child needed to talk to someone.
“I went to Victim Support and the lady there talked to us and sent us back to the station to give the statement, but by that time the man gone already, and mi did tell the detective say the man have US visa so they had to stop the man from leaving, but she said she never got that message,” the mother said.
“I have been asking the police what time he left the country and where was his destination, but they have told me nothing,” said the mother as she railed against the pastor for stealing her son’s innocence, and the police for failing to capture the pervert.