Black Pastor in Calera, Alabama indicted for rape

CALERA, Alabama – September 26, 2013 – A Shelby County grand jury has indicted the pastor of the New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Calera on a single charge of first-degree rape, according to court documents.

Harry Vester Jones, 49, who lists an address in Calera on Saratoga Lane, has his arraignment to enter a plea to the felony charge on Nov. 4 in Judge Dan Reeves’ courtroom in Columbiana.

Harry Vester Jones, 49, the senior pastor of the New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church

Harry Vester Jones, 49, the senior pastor of the New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church

Court records show the indictment against Jones filed on Sept. 18. He has been out of jail after posting a $60,000 bond the day after his arrest on April 17.

Jones, the senior pastor of a Calera church who was a party to Shelby County’s litigation challenging the Voting Rights Act, last appeared in court on Aug. 14 when his defense attorney requested that a grand jury consider the rape charge filed against him.

Calera police arrested Jones on a warrant for first-degree rape following an investigation concerning a rape claim reported to police on April 9, according to information released by the agency.

The incident happened on April 2 and involved a 39-year-old woman who is not a Calera resident, according to police. The agency did not provide further details about the allegations.

After conducting the investigation and consulting with the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, police took Jones into custody on the first-degree rape charge. Authorities obtained the warrant for his arrest on the charge through the Shelby County Magistrate Office, police said.

Defense attorney John Medaris of Pelham during an interview in August said his client is innocent of the charge against him. “I truly believe he is not guilty. We’re talking about what we call forcible, violent rape, and I just don’t see anything that indicates that,” Medaris said.

Jones was one of the defendant intervenors in the case challenging the Voting Rights Act launched by Shelby County government that resulted in a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down part of the law on June 25.

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