NEW RAPE CHARGES ARE FILED AGAINST THE PASTOR OF A BRONX CHURCH FOR ALLEGEDLY ENGAGING IN A SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH A SECOND TEENAGE VICTIM
Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson announced today that the Reverend Michael Clare has been arrested and indicted on new charges of rape and other offenses for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a second teenage girl who had attended the church affiliated Harvest Preparatory Academy where he serves as the Principal.
Clare was first indicted last year for allegedly engaging in sexual relations with a girl who was a member of his congregation at the Harvest Worship Center International at 4036 White Plains Road. Clare, who had been free on bail, was taken into custody on the new charges following a court appearance in connection with the first case.
Clare was arraigned on these new charges before State Supreme Court Justice Megan Tallmer. The judge set bail on the new case at $350,000 cash or $200,000 bond and also raised the bail on the first case to $350,000 cash or $200,000 bond. Clare is now being held in lieu of $700,000 cash bail or $250,000 bond. Justice Tallmer also prohibited the defendant from being around children under 16- years-old and ordered the surrender of his passport.
In this new indictment, the grand jury charged the 40-year-old minister, of West Harrison, New York, with one count of Rape in the 2nd degree, one count of Sexual Misconduct, three counts of Sexual Abuse, one count of Criminal Sexual Act in the 3rd degree, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. The most serious charge, Rape in the 2nd degree, is a Class D felony offense which is punishable by a maximum sentence of up to 7 years imprisonment if convicted.
The charges in this indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
It is alleged that these sexual offenses occurred on at least three occasions from June 22, 2009 through June 30, 2011 at the school at 4036 White Plains Road, the defendant’s home at 325 Quincy Avenue, and his residence at 94 Gainsborg Avenue in West Harrison, New York. The victim was a 14-year-old student at the Harvest Preparatory Academy at the time of the first encounter and was 16-years-old when the relationship ended in June 2011.
The crimes alleged in Clare’s earlier case include the charge of Rape in the 1st degree, a Class B felony offense punishable by a maximum sentence of up to 25 years imprisonment. In that matter Clare is accused of engaging in a 3 ½ year sexual relationship with a member of his congregation which allegedly began in April 2006, several months before the victim’s 13th birthday and continued through January 2010 sometime after the victim’s 16th birthday.
According to this latest indictment, the relationship at the center of these new charges continued long after the defendant was arrested and indicted in 2010 for his alleged conduct concerning the first victim.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Elizabeth Brandon and Kimberly Burgess Capers, Deputy Chief of the Child Abuse / Sex Crimes Bureau.