Principal admits to signing documents for pastor on sex charge, PNP councillor shocked
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Principal of Hampton School Heather Murray, in an apology, has admitted to signing documents relating to clergyman Rupert Clarke’s move to secure bail.
Clarke was recently charged with rape and having sexual knowledge of a person under 16. He was offered bail in the sum of J$800,000 last Wednesday when he appeared in the St Elizabeth Parish Court.
Councillor for the Trafalgar Division in South East St Andrew, the PNP’s Kari Douglas, said on Monday that she was shocked by Murray’s admission and is renewing her call for the principal to resign for attempting to bar the media from taking photographs of the alleged child abuser at court.
In a statement this afternoon, Douglas said she welcomes news that Murray has apologised, however, Douglas said while it is not wrong to sign documents as a justice of the peace in furtherance of bail being processed, Murray should have recognised that her “sensitive and substantive” post as principal, along with her duty of care to hundreds of young girls, should have compelled her against associating herself with the process of the pastor securing his temporary freedom.
Douglas said she believes in forgiveness but insisted that Murray's apology for one aspect of her “series of errors” is not enough. She said there comes a time when society has to stand up and send a very strong signal to people in authority especially, that perceived support for the scourge of child abuse, whether it is implied or not, will not be tolerated.
“Mrs Murray has contributed much to the education sector and should be thanked. Nobody is trying to detract from or deny her positive contribution,” Douglas said. “However, I am appealing to Mrs Murray to recognise that her position is untenable because there are individuals who no longer have confidence in her ability to protect hundreds of our nation’s girls and do not consider Hampton High as a suitable destination for their children with her at the helm.”
Douglas said she is encouraged by word that the alleged victim and her family are in touch with the Child Development Agency and relevant authorities.
At the same time, the councillor has renewed her call for the education and youth minister to ensure that the board of Hampton School intervenes should Murray not do the “right thing”.
The councillor for the Trafalgar Division said while she has made no conclusion regarding innocence or guilt in the case, she wishes to place on record her commitment to speak out in protection of the many little boys and girls who are forced to grapple with the trauma, stress, depression, and insecurity incurred by rape and other types of sexual abuse.