Four years ago, Michael Clare was a married pastor at Harvest Worship Center in the Bronx, as well as a principal at Harvest Preparatory Academy, also in the Bronx. Three years ago, in March 2011, he'd made a swift and thorough fall from grace, after a teenage girl, a member of his congregation, then 15, told her parents that Clare had been sexually abusing her since she was 12 years old. Clare was charged with first-degree rape and offered a plea deal that would have required just three years in prison, a very generous offer considering that the teenager had become pregnant, had an abortion, and DNA from the fetus had reportedly been matched to Clare.
Screenshot via YouTube Michael Clare, 2009
Clare rejected that deal, with his attorney Paul Brenner telling the Daily News, "He turned down the plea deal because he's innocent." Clare remained free on a $50,000 bond. And then, in March 2012, he was accused of rape again , this time a 14-year-old student at Harvest Prep.
On Wednesday, January 15, Clare, who is now 41, was convicted of two counts of rape in the second degree.More »