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Monday, September 05, 2005                                                                                       View Comments

Sex rap for pastor

Woman claims she was threatened with death

A TORONTO pastor is behind bars facing allegations that he forced sex on a young woman and later threatened to kill her and the treasurer of his small church.

Frank Seeko Lawrence, 56, founder and current pastor of the Toronto Mount Zion Revival Church of the Apostles, was arrested at his home in the city Saturday afternoon.

"The main complainant is a lady that alleges (Lawrence) forced her to have sex with him," Det. Glenn Emond said yesterday of the sordid case, in which Lawrence is charged with one count of sexual assault and two of threatening death.

He said the 26-year-old woman claims she was befriended by the pastor in the spring of 2003 and that he allowed her to move into his home for a few months and then forced her to "perform sexual acts," which resulted in her getting pregnant.

When Lawrence was served last week with family court documents -- custody and support papers for the now 1-year-old girl -- the pastor allegedly threatened to kill the woman in a phone conversation, Emond said.

"He then (allegedly) threatened to kill another woman within his church, the treasurer," he said.


Lawrence appeared briefly in an Old City Hall courtroom yesterday afternoon and he remains in custody. Despite having several members of his church on hand, ready to post his bail, a judge decided there wasn't enough time to hear the case and put it over until Tuesday -- meaning Lawrence will spend at least another two days in jail.

His obviously distraught supporters wouldn't comment following the hearing. Nor would his lawyer, Robert Geurts, who was approached at the courthouse and asked to represent Lawrence and was not yet up to speed on the case.

A few members of Lawrence's flock -- which police believe is made up of 50 to 60 people -- were at the 347 Oakwood Ave. church yesterday, but they weren't talking either.

Det. Emond said the church has been around for more than 25 years, but Lawrence ran it from his home for many years.

Morning services at the church, a unit within a small strip plaza just south of Rogers Rd., are normally held at 11 a.m. Sundays but appeared to be cancelled yesterday. "It's usually pretty loud down there but it's been quiet today," said Emerson Mejia, 23, explaining he regularly hears the congregation singing from the apartment he shares with his mom above the church.