(Jamaica Observer) The Kingston pastor accused of raping and impregnating his ex-lover’s 12-year-old daughter has consented to undergo a DNA test to prove his innocence.
The 56-year-old accused, Kenneth Blake of Harbour View in St Andrew, who appeared very troubled yesterday, signed a court order in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court after his lawyer Able-Don Foote indicated during a bail application that his client was willing to do the test to clear his name.
“Mr Blake is willing to give his DNA to test to see whether this child is his. He has never touched this child or raped this child,” Foote said.
The pastor of the Harvest Temple Apostolic Church located on Slipe Pen Road was arrested and charged with rape, grievous sexual assault, forcible abduction, sexual touching, and sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16 years old following allegations that he had sex with the child on several occasions in 2015 resulting in her getting pregnant.
It is further alleged that the pastor gave the teen, who is now 14 years old, cash and other gifts to keep it a secret.
Blake, who has denied raping or molesting the teenager, was yesterday offered $1.5-million bail by Parish Judge Simone Wolfe-Reece under the conditions that he reports twice daily to personnel at the Harbour View Police Station and surrenders his travel document with a stop order in place.
The father of six was also warned as part of his bail condition not to contact the complainant, her mother or siblings and that he should not be alone with any person under 18 unless they are his three young children.
However, before bail was granted, Foote argued that the allegations against the pastor was borne out of malice and ill will from the minor’s mother, who he alleged stole $300,000 from the church.
He further stated that his client was involved in a relationship with the child’s mother, who was the church treasurer up to July of this year, but that the relationship ended in early 2015.
He said that the allegations arose after the pastor stopped supporting the mother financially and the alleged theft, which caused agitation among members of the congregation. He also indicated several members of the church could attest to that.
“But they cannot attest that it is directly related to the allegations, can they attest to that?” the judge asked.
Foote replied: “The defendant, categorically, is of the firm view that no rape took place; he never molested anyone. It is all a lie.”
The lawyer also told the judge, “This is essentially a case of extortion, and the mother has expressed certain levels of [duplicity]. She has categorically expressed in her statement that she is experiencing financial difficulty.”
But Judge Wolfe-Reece told Foote that, while she understood motive, she did not understand his point about extortion and questioned his reasons for saying so.
Foote, as a result, conceded that he might have used a word that is too harsh.
He then told the judge that his client was a man of exceptional repute, a pastor of 30 years with good character and an unblemished record before now.
Meanwhile, immediately after the pastor was granted bail, a group of supporters, including the pastor’s mother and son, erupted into loud cheers and praise.
“Thank you, Jesus”, and “No weapon formed against me shall prosper”, some were overheard saying.
The group, which included mostly elderly women, was however upset at the media for trying to capture them on camera and pleaded the “blood of Jesus” against reporters as they ran and hid from the camera.
The group also directed their anger at the minor’s mother.
“A true mi son nuh want har, a waa ketch her,” Blake’s mother was overheard saying.
The group, who was observed praying for Pastor Blake on Tuesday, when he was first taken to court, also spent time praying for him yesterday outside the court.
The church’s bishop, Kingsley Carter, in a newspaper advertisement Tuesday, has expressed concern and regret in relation to the allegations against Blake.
“We believe and uphold the principles of the word of God in relation to the behaviour of born-again believers and specifically pastors, who must act as shepherd and display the highest level of integrity,” he said.
The bishop also expressed concern for the complainant, her mother, and members of the church family who may be hurting.
“We know that God forgives all sins if we repent, confess and forsake them. We are committed to the law of the land. If a person is found guilty, we believe the law should take its course,” Bishop Carter said.