January 10, 2017...Excerpt from JamaicaObserver
The rape and carnal abuse case involving Moravian clergyman Rev Rupert Clarke has taken on an alarming new twist, including claims by the family of the girl he is accused of abusing that they were being harassed by people in their community to keep silent.
Checks by the Jamaica Observer with several members of the police in St Elizabeth revealed that, while they have heard of rumours of intimidation against the family, no actual reports had been made to the authorities on this particular matter.
|Rev Rupert Clarke & Hampton's Principal Heather Murray|
“Yes, we have heard about these rumours of intimidation against the family of the girl in the mentioned case. In fact, we have heard of many other allegations in the case in question. We have investigated and are still investigating all these claims, but to date no one is willing to give a statement to us,” one policeman told the Observer last evening. “This is most disconcerting for us, as people must come forward for us to either provide protection, or to share any information they have to assist us with the case. We cannot operate solely on rumours alone,” the policeman said.
While the new twists and turns were taking place yesterday, principal of the all-girls boarding Hampton School in St Elizabeth, Heather Murray, apologised to her students during morning devotion following her controversial decision to attend the bail hearing of Rev Clarke last week.
The embattled principal described her decision as “a breach of common sense, I believe, on my part” and apologised for the risk of putting the school “in the wrong”.
According to board chairman Trevor Blake, all of the students, who he described as Murray’s daughters, were in strong support of their principal.
Murray was thrown into the spotlight last week after turning up at the St Elizabeth Parish Court, reportedly in support of Clarke’s wife, who she later explained in a statement was a “very good friend of hers”, having both attended Hampton School, been educators, as well as serving on several boards, committees and commissions.
However, many members of the public have condemned Murray’s decision to attend the bail hearing, especially since Clarke’s wife was not present. Additionally, Murray’s attempts at blocking media personnel from taking photographs of the 64-year-old accused clergyman have also drawn public chastisement. On social media, especially, Murray was blasted for her decision, with many users expressing outrage and disappointment at her attendance in court.
But Murray staunchly defended her decision, releasing a statement to the media saying, “As a wife, mother of two daughters and principal with responsibility for 1,220 young ladies, I have sought always to protect and defend them and the young children of Jamaica. That has not and will never change.” more