By Nathan Duke
A Connecticut man who has long acted as a pastor for a Bayside church on 206th Street has been arrested on rape charges and held without bail, a spokeswoman for the Queens district attorney said this week.
Phillip Joubert, 48, of Norwalk, Conn., was arraigned Nov. 25 before Queens Criminal Court Judge Lenora Gerald on charges of first- and second-degree rape, a spokeswoman for Queens DA Richard Brown said. The defendant, who was remanded without bail, will return to court Dec. 21, the spokeswoman said.
If convicted, Joubert could face up to 25 years in prison, she said.
The incidents occurred between July 25 and Aug. 2, the DA spokeswoman said.
But the DA’s office would not comment on the age of the victim, nor the circumstances under which they allegedly occurred.
A law enforcement source said Joubert was a pastor and that he was arrested at an unspecified Queens airport after having arrived from an overseas trip.
A sign in front of the Community Baptist Church, at 46-19 206th St. in Bayside, lists Joubert as its pastor.
People entering and leaving the church Tuesday morning said they knew nothing of the charges against the pastor.
Most neighbors along 206th Street would not discuss the arrest, but one resident who did not want to be identified said a number of people who lived along the block attended the church.
The resident said everyone on the block was aware Joubert had been arrested, but did not want to discuss the matter.
Mandingo Tshaka, a longtime Bayside community activist, said he had met the pastor a few times over a period of years.
He said his grandmother once attended the church, but that he had never been a member.
“He’s innocent until proven guilty,” Tshaka said of the pastor. “But if he’s guilty, let the penalty fit the crime. With a charge like that, even if you’re innocent, the stench of it will go with you to your grave.”
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.