Presley Smith, the pastor of the New Testament Church of God in Bunker’s Hill, Trelawny, who has been charged with sexual abuse of a minor, has been withdrawn from pastoral duties by the governing church administration.
Administrative Bishop of the New Testament Church of God in Jamaica, Rev Dr Wellesley Blair, has been advised of the actions.
In a statement that was issued on Sunday night, Rev Blair said the church is saddened by media reports that the pastor has been criminally charged, and pledged the church’s assistance to the police in their investigations.
“… we will co-operate with the authorities in whatever way they deem appropriate or necessary,” said Rev Dr Blair in a statement.
He said the church wished to disassociate itself from any unlawful, immoral or reprehensible act unbecoming of a minister, and expressed sympathy to the families affected by the alleged incident. “Please be aware of the fact that the pastor involved is entitled to be viewed as being innocent until proven otherwise, and that due process must also be followed.” Said Dr Rev Blair
On Friday, Pastor Smith, 27, was charged with multiple counts of buggery, gross indecency and grievous sexual assault, allegedly committed against a 15-year-old male student of the Bunker’s Hill community over a period of time
The accused is expected to appear in the Trelawny Parish Court later this week.