NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

January 16, 2013

Clergyman admits to sexual assault

By Dave Rogers
Staff Writer

---- — AMESBURY - A Lynn man ordained as a bishop in a small religious order escaped jail time earlier this week after pleading out to sexually assaulting two women back in 2011, according to court records.

The two charges of indecent assault and battery of a person over 14 years old against Gerald J. Clements, 55, of 40 Cannon Rock Road, Lynn, known as Father Gerald during his time at the Maple Street nursing home, were continued without finding for 18 months.

Clements and his two victims, according to police, were all hired contractors by the Amesbury Village Nursing Home on Maple Street. The incidents allegedly took place inside one of the victim’s home and the other inside a car parked in the Andyman Bakery parking lot off Hillside Avenue.

Should Clements remain out of trouble during that time and stay away and have no contact with his victims, the two charges will be dropped and stricken from his record.

Investigating officer Detective Robert Wile said yesterday he was pleased the victims were spared from reliving the incidents in a courthouse.

“I’m glad it’s over and the victims didn’t have to take the stand,” Wile said.

According to Amesbury police, Clements was ordained by The Reformed Catholic Church International. The order is not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, nor with the Boston Archdiocese. The independent order derives many of its sacrament and liturgical practices from Roman Catholic tradition.

His profile on the church’s website shows a photo of Clements wearing a priest’s collar and priest garb. He was ordained to the priesthood on May, 1997 and elevated to the order of bishop in 2002. A computer engineer by trade, like other members of the greater independent Catholic Church, Clements supplements his income by working a secular job. Most recently he has served as director of customer service for a major international computer company, according to the church website.

Clements has been married for 27 years and is currently presiding bishop of the Reformed Catholic Church International of New England. As a bishop with the church, Clements can perform baptisms, weddings, funeral services, Communion and is available for spiritual consultations, the website adds.

An Amesbury Village spokesperson yesterday she said couldn’t recall whether Clements ever worked at the nursing home but said it was possible he was a visiting professional.

According to Wile’s police report, the first victim told him she had known Clements for a long time and they had worked together at the nursing home. The victim was described by Wile as a nurse, an authority on shamanic energy healing and experience with the Reiki method of stress reduction and relaxation.

In January, 2011, the victim agreed to perform a Reiki session on Clements at her residence having months earlier performed a session of energy healing on him inside the nursing home without incident. But while performing the session at her house, Clements reached over and grabbed her upper thigh, the report states. He then tried to pull her down on the table on top of him. When she resisted, he let go and asked for her to complete the session. The woman did finish the session and Clements left without further incident, according to Wile’s report.

The second victim was allegedly assaulted in late September, 2011. According to Wile’s report, after working together at the nursing home for several months Clements told the second victim he had romantic feelings towards her. The victim, who had a boyfriend at the time, reminded Clements that he was married. In late September, 2011, the two agreed to grab a bite to eat at Andyman Bakery and discuss the situation. The conversation continued in her car where she alleges Clements tried to place his tongue in her mouth. The victim was able to pull away from him and ordered him to stop, the police report states.

After the incidents, both victims told their employer about Clements’ conduct, prompting Clements to be transferred to another facility. In both cases, he tried calling and emailing the victims in order to apologize. Eventually, the apologies turned into threats of legal action should they continue to defame his name, the report stated. Soon after, the victims approached police who quickly began an investigation in Clements actions, according to Wile’s report.

He was formally charged on Jan. 3, 2012.