Bronx Pastor Accused of Rape, Sex Assault

Rev. Michael Clare is accused for the second time of raping a girl connected to the church and school he served

Friday, Mar 23, 2012  |  Updated 10:17 AM EDT
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Bronx Pastor Accused of Rape, Sex Assault

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A Bronx pastor has been arrested for a second time on rape charges, accused of having a sexual relationship with a girl who attended the preparatory school where he was principal, authorities said.

The Rev. Michael Clare, 40, of West Harrison, N.Y., allegedly began abusing the girl on June 22, 2009, and continued the relationship through June 30, 2011. Clare would meet his victim at the Harvest Preparatory Academy and at Clare's two homes in the Bronx and in West Harrison,  prosecutors said.

Clare is already facing separate charges for engaging in a sexual relationship with a girl who was a member of his congregation at the Harvest Worship Center International, which is affiliated with the academy where he was principal.

Prosecutors said Clare began that relationship in April 2006, several months before the victim's 13th birthday, and continued through January 2010, sometime after the victim's 16th birthday.

Clare was making a court appearance in that case Thursday when he was taken into custody on the new charges, the prosecutor's office said.

Clare was arraigned on one count of second-degree rape, one count of sexual misconduct, three counts of sexual abuse, one count of third-degree criminal sexual act and endangering the welfare of a child.

Clare's attorney, Paul Brenner, said his client was "totally innocent" and called the case a "witch hunt" by the prosecution.

"We'll work around the clock to make sure my client will be vindicated," he said.

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