Wednesday, June 17, 2009
KINGSTON, Jamaica - A New York-based Pentecostal faith healer who has led crusades around the world was charged Wednesday with sexually abusing a teenage girl in his native Jamaica.
Jamaican police say Paul Lewis is charged with carnal abuse and indecent assault in an incident involving a 15-year-old girl in the western Jamaican city of Negril.
Defense lawyer Michael Erskine confirmed the charges but declined to comment until after Lewis, 45, had made his initial court appearance on the charges.
Lewis was arrested Sunday just as he was about to start preaching in the west coast town of Savanna-La-Mar for allegedly having sex with the teen at a hotel in Negril, said Sgt. Ethon Miller of the Westmoreland parish police.
Authorities were alerted by people who allegedly saw the minister with the 15-year-old and another 14-year-old, became suspicious and called police, Miller said.
Lewis was born in Jamaica but moved to the United States as a child. His Web site identifies him as pastor for The Messengers for Christ World Healing Center in Brooklyn, New York. The church did not respond to requests for comment.
His Web site says he has preached in Bahamas, Canada, Jamaica, Europe and Africa. In infomercials and on his Web site he has pitched a "miracle olive oil soap" that he claims can cure diseases including AIDS and cancer and bring prosperity.