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Bishop Fraser denies sex allegations against him

Bishop Earl Randolph Fraser yesterday denied allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a girl he was counselling several years ago.

Fraser, who is married, is accused of having a sexual relationship with the 16-year-old between July 2005 and February 2006.

Prosecutors allege that Fraser abused his position of trust because he was supposed to be counselling the girl.

When asked for his position regarding the allegations against him, the Pilgrim Baptist Temple Senior Pastor told the court,”I deny them. They are not true allegations.”

The girl alleged that she had sex with Fraser at his church office before services on Sundays and prayer meetings on Wednesdays. Semen, alleged to be Fraser’s, was found on carpet in the church’s office, according to evidence.

It is alleged that the pair had sex between 60 and 90 times in Fraser’s office and martial home. In explaining the layout of his office Fraser said it can be accessed through the front administrative section or through a side door that leads to the garage.

He said he often counseled people in his office as he has an open-door policy for members of his church on St. James Road.

The bishop said he offered to counsel the girl after he walked in as she was addressing a youth meeting about the abuses she allegedly suffered at home.

“My heart bled at what I was hearing,”he told the court.

He said after the youth meeting he told the girl to come to his office and see him. Fraser said the next day, the girl came to his office for what he described as an informal meeting.

Fraser said after that meeting he”watched her from afar”.

He said that some time later he was asked by a church member to contact the girl’s mother as she was having problems at home. He later learned that the girl had run away from home.

He said that same day he along with the girl’s grandmother and cousin went looking for her and found her at an aunt’s house.

Fraser said when he returned the girl to her home, the girl’s mother said she didn’t want her to live there. At that point, he said the girl’s grandmother offered to take the girl in and he promised that the church would assist with lunch money.

He denied using his own money to pay for the girl’s lunch. He said the money came from the church’s benevolent fund, which is used to help church members in need.

Fraser said he is responsible for the petty cash and keeps a record of all of the money used from that fund.

Additionally, he said he arranged counseling for both the girl and her mother on separate days.

Fraser said it was during counselling with the girl that he realized that she was a”troubled young lady”with self confidence issues.

He said his first official counselling session with her took place on June 13, 2005.

On Thursday, four members of Bishop Fraser’s church admitted that they could not say whether the allegations against him were true.

Witnesses for Fraser testified that they usually arrived at the church before he 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 the movements of her boss.

Leroy Major, the church’s youth minister, claimed that people 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.

During cross-examination by Franklyn Williams, the deputy director of public prosecutions, the witnesses admitted that they could not say how Fraser’s semen got on the carpet of his office. They also admitted that they could not say whether the allegations made against him were true.

The case is being heard before Deputy Chief Magistrate Carolita Bethell. Wayne Munroe and Jairam Mangra represent Fraser.

The matter has been adjourned to February 14.

FirstCaribbean repor
­CARIFTA, the right