Dayton Avenue Chruch of God Apologizes for Fallen Deacon

RJR [Jamaica]
July 12, 2006

The Dayton Avenue Church of God has issued an apology for the actions of one of its former deacons who is accused of watching while a 13-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by three teenagers.

The former deacon, 47-year-old Donavon James otherwise called "Uncle Jimmy", stepped down after the incident was brought to national attention.

After facing several days of public outrage, the Church released a statement on Tuesday night in which it said it unreservedly apologised for the incident.

One of the preachers at the Church, Faith Innerarity, said the former deacon was strongly rebuked when the incident was reported.

The Church's response came just hours after Attorney-General A.J Nicholson said the alleged assault was by no means a church matter but a serious offence punishable under the law.

He also warned that persuading persons not to cooperate with the police may amount to obstruction of justice.

The Minister's comment was in reaction to reports that senior members of the Dayton Avenue Church of God were aware of the alleged assault and did not report the matter to the police.

And, the former deacon and three teenaged boys will be taken to court on Wednesday morning.

James has been charged with cruelty to a child, conspiracy, as well as aiding an abetting.

The other accused, 18-year-old Shamar Morgan, 18-year-old James Rodgers and a 15-year-old boy are to answer charges of conspiracy, assault with intent to rape, indecent assault, as well as aiding and abetting.

The 15-year-old is facing an additional charge of assaulting a female.

The four were taken into custody last week after the police received a copy of a compact disc showing the school girl being forcefully restrained and fondled.

It is alleged that the deacon went to pick up one of the boys at a St. Andrew school and offered a ride to the girl.


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