KINGSTON, Jamaica, Mar 10, CMC – A pastor has been jailed for 20 years after he was found guilty of having sex with a minor two years ago.
Justice Lorna Shelly Williams Friday sentenced Pastor Reverend Paul Hanniford of the Pentecostal City Mission Church after he was found guilty by a seven-member jury on January 24.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (OFPP) said the complainant, who is now 15 years old, testified in court that on March 12, 2015, she and her five-year-old brother went to the church for choir practice and after the rehearsal they asked the pastor for a ride.
But the Home Court was told that the child, who was a member of the Pentecostal City Mission Church and was baptised by Hanniford was taken to the pastor’s home in Kingston.
“The pastor gave the five-year-old some cornflakes to eat. The complainant requested the use of the bathroom and while there in the bathroom the pastor entered. The complainant was pushed by the pastor outside the bathroom onto a bed that was inside a nearby bedroom and sexually assaulted her,” the ODPP said in the statement.
The Court was told that the child managed to push the pastor off and went outside of the bedroom to meet her brother, who had heard her cries for help.
The statement said that the brother had climbed onto a chair and peeped through a hole in the door and observed Pastor Hanniford sexually assaulting his sister which made him feel “sad”.
According to the evidence presented to the court, after the incident the pastor gave them some cornflakes to eat and later warned the complainant not to tell anyone as it was their “secret”.
He took them back to the church where the mother of the children met them. The complainant’s brother made a report to his mother in the presence of the pastor about what he had seen.
The following day a meeting was convened at the church with the bishop, the pastor, the complainant, her brother and the children’s parents.
On April 14, 2015, a report was made to the police and the pastor was arrested. He was subsequently charged.
In his defence at the trial, the pastor denied having sexual intercourse with the complainant and said that he had given the children a drive out but not on the day in question.