Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Predator tries different religions

Sex abuse preacher resurfaces in Scotland as rebel rabbi
Mar 20 2011 Exclusive by Stephen Stewart, Sunday Mail

A PREACHER jailed for child abuse can today be exposed after he tried to build a new identity - as a rebel rabbi.

Former student minister Ronald Chalmers was booted out of the Reverend Ian Paisley's church in Ulster when he was locked up for three years for a sex attack on a boy in a church hall.

The Sunday Mail can reveal that Chalmers has resurfaced in Scotland, calling himself Rabbi Asher Kramer and leading a breakaway synagogue in Lanarkshire.

Former Tory activist Chalmers, 47, left the Free Presbyterian church in disgrace in 1992 after indecently assaulting the 11-year-old boy in Finaghy, south Belfast, and at a guest house.

The court heard he abused the boy on a bed next to the pulpit at the church hall.

Chalmers was ordained as a Messianic Jewish rabbi two years ago and is now leading a small band of followers based in an East Kilbride community centre.

But he was kicked out of the Union of British Messianic Jewish Congregations last year over concerns about his behaviour.

Ubmjc leader Rabbi Dr Yehoshua Scott said: "Ronald Chalmers is a very charming person but some members left his synagogue scandalised by accusations of a friendship with a gentleman who had a low IQ.

"A lot of people were increasingly concerned by his behaviour and he now has formed his own organisation with just a few members."

Rabbi Scott said Chalmers led a UBMJC congregation between 2006 and last July and informed the organisation leadership of his shameful past.

Rabbi Scott added: "He professed his innocence, alleging that he had been framed by the Reverend Ian Paisley.

"The rabbi who headed our organisation at the time maintained that it was fine to employ him as she believed him to be innocent.

"We were stunned to find out the true nature of his offences and have severed all ties with him."

Chalmers, the son of a police officer, was jailed for three years in December 1992 after being found guilty of the sex attack.

Four more counts of sexual abuse involving a 16-year-old boy - including an alleged assault during a church trip to the Holy Land - were not proceeded with.

In the 80s, Chalmers was a prominent Scottish Tory and former chairman of the Eastwood Young Conservatives Association, rubbing shoulders with Margaret Thatcher.

Trial judge Sir Robert Porter said Chalmers had committed an "appalling and shameful" betrayal of trust.

Last night at his synagogue, Chalmers said: "Everyone here knows about the things that happened in the past. I live a very open life and I do not keep secrets from anyone.

"It was almost 20 years ago and yet people are trying to stir things up against me.

"I have nothing to hide but I just want to get on with my life. I didn't appeal against my conviction or sentence for legal reasons."

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