A Queens Supreme Court jury heard opening arguments Tuesday in the trial of the Rev. Phillip Joubert, the pastor of Bayside’s Community Baptist Church, who is accused of sexually abusing and raping his then-13-year-old daughter in 2009.
Joubert, 50, is charged with first- and second-degree rape, incest, sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. If found guilty on the top charge, first-degree rape, he faces up to 25 years in prison, the Queens DA’s office said.
The prosecution said the young woman, now 15, would testify against her father.
Assistant District Attorney Lauren Parson said Joubert’s daughter and her twin brother, the youngest of the minister’s six children with his estranged wife, left the Norwalk, Conn., home where they live with their mother in the summer of 2009 to stay with their father at his home at the church on the corner of 206th Street and 46th Road for two weeks to attend Bible camp.
One night between July 25 and Aug. 2 that summer, Joubert allegedly entered his daughter’s bedroom and forced himself upon her, physically and sexually assaulting her and then raping her, according to Parson.
The frightened young woman kept her abuse a secret, the prosecution said, until November 2009, when Joubert punched her after coming home to find his Norwalk apartment at 21 Lexington Ave. messy. It was then that she confided in her mother about the rape and the two went to the police.
Joubert was arrested in Norwalk Dec. 31 and a judge at Norwalk Superior Court issued a protective order that stipulated he was to stay away from the alleged victim and have no contact with her.
The case was turned over to Queens detectives, and Joubert was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport later that month after returning from a trip to Israel.
Parson said Joubert admitted to touching his daughter’s vagina “only after she touched his penis” but denied raping her.
Joubert’s attorney, Philip Russell, said his client’s accuser was coached by her mother, who talked about getting a divorce in June 2009. He said they went to the Norwalk police to report an alleged slapping.
“At some point, which it may never be clear to you, there was a complaint of a sexual assault in Queens,” he told the jury.
Russell called into question whether the written statement Joubert’s daughter submitted to police contained the words of a 13-year old or those of her mother.
He said Joubert, who suffers from diabetes, left Israel at 1:30 a.m. and at some point during his 13-hour flight became ill. It was in his “extremely weakened, sick shape” that Joubert was interrogated by police, Russell said.
The defense said it would call a passenger who sat next to Joubert on that flight to testify about his condition.
According to Norwalk’s The Hour newspaper, Joubert was arrested July 5, 2011, for allegedly placing a call to his daughter, violating the judge’s protective order.
He was due in Norwalk Superior Court Nov. 16 on third-degree assault charges, risking injury to a child and violating a protective order.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.
©2011 Community News Group
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