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“Bishop Defiled The Church”- COA Justice Slams Fraser

A popular bishop convicted of having sex with an underage girl will remain behind bars after an appeals panel tossed his appeal against sentence and conviction. But before the dismissal a senior justice blasted the clergyman for “disgustingly defiling the church.”

Pilgrim Baptist Bishop, E. Randy Fraser was convicted last November of having unlawful sexual intercourse with the minor and was subsequently sentenced to three years behind bars.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Carolita Bethel handed down the sentence.

However, the pastor appealed the conviction and sentence.

On Thursday, Court of Appeal (COA) President Anita Allen told Fraser that he had a fair trial and was not violated by the interventions of the magistrate noting that his act was “contemptible deserving of the severest condemnation.”

“In the result, we find no merit in any of the grounds of appeal and for all of the above reasons we dismiss the appeal and affirm the conviction and sentence imposed by the magistrate,” the president told Fraser as he sat in the prisoner’s dock clinging to a white towel and prayer book.

“The sentence is to run from the date of conviction. 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 Christ who commanded: Suffer the little children to come unto me.”

The appellate president said Fraser betrayed the victim, who they described as “young, vulnerable and emotionally fragile.”

“She was entrusted to his care for emotional and spiritual healing; [he] 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 and indeed his community,” Justice Allen said as she read from the 18-page judgment.

“I hope you have had time to think while you have been in prison and that you are repentant. Use the rest of your time to rehabilitate yourself while in prison.”

According to evidence led at trial, the 53-year-old bishop had sexual relations with the girl – who was 16 at the time – between July 2005 and February 2006.

President Allen read the judgment alongside Justices Stanley John and Abdulleh Conteh.

A prison year is equivalent to eight months.

Fraser has been in jail since November 29.

His attorney, Jiriam Mangra was not in court yesterday because he was out of the country.

Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Franklyn Williams and Darnell Dorsett appeared on behalf of the Attorney General’s Office.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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