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Four members of Bishop Fraser’s church testify at his trial

Four members of Bishop Earl Randolph Fraser’s Pilgrim Baptist Temple, St. James Road, testified at their pastor’s sexual misconduct trial yesterday.

Fraser, who is married, is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old that allegedly began in July 2005 and ended in February 2006. Prosecutors allege that Fraser abused his position of trust, as he allegedly began the sexual relationship with the girl whom he was supposed to be counselling.

The girl alleged that she had sex with Fraser at his church office before services. Fraser’s semen was found on carpeting in the church’s office.

However, yesterday three of those witnesses testified that they usually arrived at the church before Fraser did. Ruth Edgecombe, a secretary at the church, claimed that she arrived at the church before Fraser and left after he did. She claimed that Fraser could not access his office during services because the secretaries kept his office keys.

Fraser’s secretary said she knew her boss’movements. Leroy Major, the church’s youth minister, claimed that persons who wanted to see the pastor had to see the secretary first.

John Forbes, the church’s director of security, said that he witnessed a confrontation between the alleged victim’s family and Fraser at the church on Palm Sunday in 2006. Forbes said he advised Fraser not to respond to the allegations. Major also said he was present during the confrontation. He claimed that voicemail messages were not played during the confrontation. According to prosecution witnesses, raunchy voicemail messages that Fraser allegedly left on the teen’s phone were played for those present.

The case will continue before Deputy Chief Magistrate Carolita Bethell next year. Wayne Munroe and Jairam Mangra represent Fraser. Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Franklyn Williams and Basil Cumberbatch represent the Crown.

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