NEW YORK, United Sates (CMC) – A Jamaican-born pastor here has pleaded guilty of raping two teenage girls, one of whom attended his church in the Bronx.
On Friday, prosecutors said that Michael Clare, 41, a former pastor at the Harvest Worship Center International, had pleaded guilty to the charges.
On Wednesday, Clare was convicted of two counts of rape in the second degree. When he admitted to sexually abusing both girls.
He told them that he raped the 13-year-old congregant on March 9, 2007, and the 14-year-old “sometime between September 8 and September 30, 2009″.
But, according to the New York Village Voice, prosecutors suspected otherwise, claiming in their indictment that Clare had sexually abused the second girl on at least three occasions between June 22, 2009 and June 30, 2011.
They believe one assault took place at the school, where he worked as principal, and two others took place at Clare’s homes – one in the Bronx and another in West Harrison, a small town about 20 miles north of New York City.
In 2011, Clare was accused of sexually assaulting and impregnating a then 12-year-old girl who had attended his storefront church, according to the Christian Post.
While the girl had an abortion, investigators reportedly claimed they had been able to match his DNA with that of the baby, said the Village Voice.
Prosecutors had alleged that the abuse had lasted for nearly three years before the girl reported it to her parents.
After the initial charges, Clare, who was married, maintained his innocence and rejected a plea deal that would have sent him to prison for two years.
Clare, who will be formally sentenced on January 30, must also register as a sex offender and, under the terms of the plea deal, will serve up to five years in prison.
The Post said there is also a likelihood that the former pastor and principal will be deported to Jamaica. In August 2012, Clare was accused by the federal government of being in the country illegally.