The church has once again come under the spotlight for the misadventures of its leaders. This time, it is right here in Bunkers Hill, Trelawny. A New Testament Church of God preacher is the latest to hit the news, this time it is for something almost unthinkable.
Presley Smith, pastor of the Bunker’s Hill New Testament Church of God in Trelawny has been charged with buggery of a minor.
From: The Jamaica Observer
The Church in Jamaica has been thrown into further disarray, with news that another man of the cloth has been arrested and charged by the police with a sexual offence against a minor.
Host pastor of the Bunker’s Hill New Testament Church of God in Trelawny, Presley Smith will face the Falmouth Parish Court later this week, after he was arrested and charged on Friday with acts of sexual offences.
Allegations are that between January 2016 and January of this year, Smith, 27, a native of Kingston but who currently lives in this rural Trelawny community, committed a number of sexual offences against a 15-year-old male student who hails from the district and is now residing in Montego Bay, St James.
Investigators have said that Smith turned himself in at the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) in Kingston on May 3 and was later transferred to Falmouth, where he was subsequently slapped with charges of buggery, gross indecency, and grievous sexual assault.
A senior police officer who is close to the investigations told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that the alleged acts were committed at the pastor’s rented house in the Bunker’s Hill community.
He added that the matter was reported to the offices of CISOCA in Montego Bay after the boy’s parents saw “certain materials” on his laptop computer in April of this year.
“In April, the boy’s parents saw certain material on his laptop and reported it to CISOCA in Montego Bay, and the pastor was later interviewed there,” said the investigator.
“It’s kind of hard to believe. Pastor Smith is a disciplinarian and a no-nonsense person,”
said an area resident, noting that Smith has been pastor of the church for more than two years. She added that pastor was “extremely involved” in church activities, very jovial, and was always neatly dressed.
“I really don’t know how his name would be calling up in that sort of thing. He was a good actor, he writes very well, and always trying to motivate people,” said the resident.
According to her, the pastor earlier this year proposed to a woman and was planning to get married in August.
The Church has been thrown against the wall of shame in recent months, following the arrest of some high- and low-profile officials on sex-related charges across Jamaica.
Moravian Pastor Rupert Clarke, 64, is facing charges of rape and carnal abuse after police said that they found him in a “compromising position” with a girl, aged 15, in his motor car near the sleepy town of Nain in south-east St Elizabeth on December 28.
Clarke had been pastor of the Nazareth Moravian Church in Manchester.
Three weeks after Clarke was arrested, police also slapped carnal abuse and indecent assault charges on President of the Moravian Church in Jamaica, Dr Paul Gardner, and his deputy Jermaine Gibson. Both later resigned their positions in the Church.
In mid-March, Pentecostal Pastor R V Paul Hanniford was found guilty of having sexual intercourse with a minor and sentenced to 20 years in prison.