Response of The Presbyterian College, Montreal to news of abuse by a graduate of the college.
The Presbyterian College is aware of news that one of its graduates, the Rev. Sampson Afoakwah (Class of 2014), pled guilty on January 19, 2024 to charges of sexual assault against a minor. According to a published news story, the Rev. Afoakwah was given a sentence of eight months for sexually abusing the 13-year-old daughter of a member of his congregation.
As a college community we are devastated by this news. To serve in pastoral leadership is to enter a privileged relationship of trust with the members of a local church and with the wider community. In this situation that trust has been utterly betrayed. We are devastated for the young person who has been harmed and abused, and for her family. Our prayers are with her, and with her family, that they will have the support and care they need in the wake of this abuse. We pray that they will experience grace and healing on the path that lies before them.
We think of the congregation of Montreal West Presbyterian Church at this time, as they struggle with this news, entrusting them to the loving care and provision of God.
We also pray for the Rev. Afoakwah, that God’s restorative grace will be present to him. We pray for his wife and children, that God’s compassion will surround them.
The Rev. Afoakwah is a member of the Presbytery of Montreal, and is under the care and discipline of that presbytery. The presbytery is also responsible for the care of the congregation. The Presbytery of Montreal issued a pastoral letter yesterday in response to this painful news of abuse by a minister who is a member of our wider church community.
Any member of the college community who struggles upon hearing this news, and would like support or prayer, is invited to be in touch with Chaplain Lucille Marr, with another member of faculty, or with me.
As a college faculty we will also, in the coming weeks and months, undertake a review of our teaching in relation to the sexual abuse and sexual harassment policy and procedures of our denomination, to ensure that we are offering the best possible instruction for the prevention of such harm and abuse.
Roland De Vries