|Court condemns Bishop Fraser|
Guardian Senior Reporter
Published: Jun 22, 2012
The Court of Appeal yesterday condemned disgraced Bishop Earl Randolph Fraser as a “sexual predator” who “disgustingly defiled the sanctum of his church” when it upheld his conviction for having sex with a teenage church member who had come to him for counseling.
Fraser’s wife, Jacqueline, was conspicuously absent as the court affirmed his three-year sentence for having unlawful sex with a dependent.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Carolita Bethell convicted and sentenced him for having an illicit affair with the troubled 16-year-old girl between July 2005 and February 2006.
On Thursday, only one woman was present to lend Fraser moral support. She left soon after the court delivered its decision, notwithstanding the absence of Fraser’s lawyer Jairam Mangra who was off the island.
The court found no merit in Mangra’s arguments that the conviction could not be supported by the evidence and the magistrate violated Fraser’s right to a fair trial by questioning a prosecution witness at length.
The victim, who is now in her 20s, testified that Fraser propositioned her for sex during their second counseling session. The woman said she and Fraser had sex on diverse occasions at his home and in the office of his church. She also said he gave her lunch money, bought her gifts and sent her raunchy text and voice mail messages.
The couplings in the church were corroborated by the presence of Fraser’s semen on the carpet of his office at the church, one of the places the complainant alleged intercourse occurred.
Fraser and his wife justified the presence of the semen by claiming that they often had sex at the church when they spent nights there during power outages at their home. They explained that the church had a generator, but they did not.
This reason was rejected by the trial and appellate courts.
The Bench of President Anita Allen and Justices of Appeal Stanley John and Abdulai Conteh closed the judgment by saying, “It would be remiss of us if we were to let this opportunity pass without commenting on a case which has evoked so much public interest.
“The unassailable facts reveal the appellant as a sexual predator under the guise of a man of the cloth and counselor, who abandoned all of his obligations and responsibilities, particularly his commitment to uphold the teachings of the Christ himself who commanded, ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me.’
“In doing so, the appellant obnoxiously betrayed this young, vulnerable and emotionally fragile complaintant who was entrusted to his care for emotional and spiritual healing; disgustingly defiled the sanctum of his church; besmirched the good name of men and women of the cloth who daily perform their Christian duties with diligence and integrity; and has brought shame and odium to his church, his wife, his children and indeed, his community.”
Outside court, Franklyn Williams, the deputy director of public prosecutions, said that “Justice had been served.” He was assisted by Darnell Dorsette.