Court seeking complainant in St James pastor’s rape case
Christopher Thomas/ Gleaner Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
THE ST JAMES Circuit Court has set January 19, 2024 as the next hearing date for the trial of Jason Rose, the St James-based pastor accused of raping a teenage girl in 2021, and his two co-defendants, in order for the authorities to locate the complainant.
While few details were available regarding Monday’s latest update into the in-camera case, it is understood that the court was advised that the complainant currently cannot be found.
It had previously been indicated that she was in state care.
Rose, his wife Kehmi Rose, and the complainant’s mother, who will not be named to protect the complainant’s identity, were subsequently given the new court date of January 19 and had their bails extended.
Monday was previously set as the hearing date in the trio’s case when they last appeared in court on May 12.
In addition to Jason Rose’s rape charge, the three defendants are all charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Kehmi Rose and the girl’s mother are also charged with breaching the Child Care and Protection Act.
However, there have been few additional details released in regard to the in-camera matter, since the three defendants had their case transferred from the St James Parish Court to the St James Circuit Court on September 27, 2021.
In the case against Jason Rose, on May 28, 2021, the complainant, who was 15 at the time, reported that she had been raped by the pastor on his church’s compound, where she had gone to use the facility’s internet for an educational project.
In regard to Kehmi Rose and the complainant’s mother, it is alleged that on June 10, 2021, the victim and her mother visited the offices of the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offices and Child Abuse, to give a statement that the child’s initial rape accusation against the pastor was not true.
While being interviewed, the complainant reportedly explained that she was being forced to give the second statement by her mother, the accused pastor, and the pastor’s wife in order for the case to be dropped.
The complainant’s mother was arrested on that day, and Kehmi Rose was arrested the following day, June 11.
Jason Rose first appeared before the St James Parish Court on June 14, 2021, where he was offered bail in the sum of $300,000 on the rape charge.
However, he was remanded two days later, on June 16, in relation to an additional charge of perverting the course of justice, which the women were also charged with when they first appeared in court on that date.
All three defendants were denied bail at that time regarding the perversion of justice charge, out of concern that they would interfere with the complainant. A gag order was also imposed on the court by presiding parish judge Sasha Ashley, concerning the case’s details.
After the trio made their first appearance in the St James Circuit Court on October 6, 2021, a similar restriction regarding discussion of the case was issued in order to protect the complainant, who was said to be in state care.
That restriction was imposed during the defendants’ second appearance in the circuit court on October 12 that year.