An “overwhelming majority” of members of Pilgrim Full Baptist Temple voted to keep their disgraced pastor, Bishop Earl Randolph Fraser, as head of their church even though he is currently serving a three-year prison sentence for having sex with a dependent.
The Court of Appeal last year condemned Fraser as a “sexual predator” who “disgustingly defiled the anctum of his church” when it upheld his conviction for having sex with a teenage church member who had come to him for counseling. Despite his imprisonment, Fraser is still officially head of the church on St. James Road, which reportedly has more than 400 members.
The church still has a large portrait of him in the foyer of its administrative section and his name is still on the church’s sign.
Many church members, including his wife, Jacqueline, have been passionate in their defense of the bishop.
More than 100 members turned out for the vote last night, which at one point erupted into a heated argument between two senior members.
In a statement sent to church members prior to the voting, Pilgrim Baptist Chairman of the Board of Trustees George Rodgers said the board could have made the final decision on keeping Fraser on as leader but decided to present it to the members.
During Fraser’s trail, evidence revealed that Fraser began the illicit affair with the 16-year-old girl shortly after their counseling sessions began in July 2005.