‘Healer man’ charged with sexual abuse of a child

June 22, 2022

Children's rights advocate Betty Ann Blaine is calling out persons in the church who are involved in sexual abuse of minors.

"If you're a paedophile, come out of the church and go and fix yourself! Or else we will come for you, the authorities will come for you," she said. Blaine was commenting after hearing that another 'spiritual leader' is being charged with sexual abuse of a child. Detectives assigned to the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse arrested and charged the St Catherine man with rape, grievous sexual assault and sexual touching of a child. The offences were allegedly committed on Friday, May 6, during an exorcism. Reports are that the child was sent to the man for him to perform the exorcism, during which he committed the sexual acts. A report was subsequently made to the police and the man was arrested and charged. Blaine, who is founder of Hear The Children's Cry, told THE STAR that for several years, there have been reports of church leaders sexually abusing children.

"Our position is that children must and should be safe at church. Children must and should be safe in the company of pastors, of perhaps elders in a church. We know children are vulnerable to all types of abuse in their homes, in their communities, but we would expect that children would be safe in a church and would be safe with a pastor or spiritual leader," she said. "I don't care who they are. Whether they are bishop, apostle, elders, pastors, priests, I don't care. These cases must be investigated vigorously and impartially and if they are found to be guilty then they must face the full brunt of the law. That's our position." Blaine warned spiritual leaders that they will be found out.

She also stressed the importance of vetting individuals who take up leadership positions as children often go to church and other worship centres unaccompanied by their parents.

"Every church must have a child protection policy," she said. "It involves for example vetting anybody that comes in to work with children, Sunday school and so on. You must know who they are, you must do those background checks. You must put in place those policies within the church to make sure that a child is not left alone."

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