March 23, 2022

USA: Pastor With Deep Ties To Clintons And Big Name Celebrities, Who Adopted Haitian Orphans, Arrested And Charged For Child Sex Crimes. If Convicted, Faces Up To 30 Years In Federal Prison.

The National Pulse
written by Simone Hanna
Monday March 14, 2022

Corrigan Clay – a U.S. pastor who moved to Haiti and adopted two orphans – has been arrested on child sex abuse charges against one of his children. Corrigan is the co-founder of the “Apparent Project”, a non-profit charity organization established by his ex-partner Shelley Jean. The group has been visited and supported by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who is also believed to have helped fund another of the pair’s entities, Papillion Enterprise, through Clinton Foundation grants.

In January 2021, child welfare authorities in Florida alleged that 43-year-old James Corrigan Clay, pastor, and philanthropist, had “abused” and “sexually assaulted” one of his underage children whom he had raised with ex-partner Shelley Jean. Clay was arrested March 10th this year by federal agents, according to an unsealed indictment first released on Thursday by The Daily Beast.

Both families of Shelley Jean and Corrigan Clay have declined to take any public stance regarding the sexual assault of one of their co-parented children. This has included Shelly Jean herself who, in 2021, was said to have hidden behind justice system instructions, avoiding any indication to whether she was aware of such ongoings between Clay and their underage adopted children prior to his arrest. Despite declining to make a direct statement on the sexual assault charges, Jean assured that the children have only lived with her since her learning of the incidents, according to the Haiti-based Ayibo Post.

Prior to this, Clay, Jean, and CEO Marilyn Monaghan founded Apparent Project, designed to “establish childcare for working parents, quality early education, and job skills that provide opportunities for the poor in Haiti.” As with Papillion Enterprise, the Apparent Project has been visited and supported by former president Bill Clinton, alongside various other celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Kim Kardashian, displayed in a now-deleted blog post from Clay in 2012:
“Donna Karan, The Gap, Macy’s, Chan Luu, and Disney have marketed our jewelry, and our celebrity clients have included Bill Clinton, Oprah, Rainn Wilson, Olivia Wilde, Maria Bello, Petra Nemcova, Ben Stiller, and Kim Kardashian.”
– Corrigan Clay, 2012
Clay’s now-deleted post also included a letter, dated 2016, from a deprived seventeen-year-old Haitian girl expressing her desire to “make love” with him in order to aid her sister with access to medical surgery. Though Clay had expressed in his blog post that he helped the teenage girl without the requirement of sexual deeds, he further admitted to lingering on her proposal due to personal loneliness.

The Clinton Foundation has long-boasted of its ties to Papillion and related groups over the past decade. It was announced in 2016 that Papillion had “grown from less than 100 employees and approximately $150,000 in annual revenues when we first started working with her, including a Foundation investment of $150,000, to now over 300 employees and over $1.2 million a year in revenues” – partly courtesy of the Clinton Foundation.

It has been alleged that close ties remain between the Clinton Foundation and Shelley Jean’s organizations, as Jean continues to attend Clinton Global Initiative meetings in New York. Meanwhile, her ex-partner and co-founder Corrigan Clay faces up to thirty years in prison if convicted.
The Daily Beast
written by Justin Rohrlich, Reporter
Friday March 11, 2022

An American pastor who moved to Haiti to teach impoverished residents marketable job skills—adopting two Haitian orphans and opening an evangelical pre-school along the way—is now facing U.S. charges for “engaging in illicit sexual conduct” with a child while living in the Caribbean nation.

Corrigan Clay, 43, was arrested Thursday by federal agents, according to a newly unsealed indictment first obtained by The Daily Beast. He is being prosecuted by the Justice Department’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, documents filed in Pittsburgh federal court state.

Clay sexually abused the unidentified child from January 2014 to December 2017, the indictment states. No further details are provided in the filing, except that the alleged victim was under 18. But Clay’s ex-wife, with whom he had two biological children in addition to the pair they adopted, told The Daily Beast on Friday that the illicit conduct involved one of their own kids.

Shelley Jean Clay, who split from Clay more than a decade ago and now operates a Haitian-focused crafts market in Florida, declined to provide further details about the allegations, emphasizing that she was not involved and had no idea what was happening.

“It was my child, but I don’t think I am at liberty to talk about it because the court case is in process,” she told The Daily Beast. “I’m not opposed to the truth coming out, but I don't want to jeopardize the case.”

Shelley did not specify whether or not the alleged victim was one of the adoptees or a biological child.

Clay operated his ministry, the Apparent Project, with a stated goal of “building future leaders in Haiti,” alongside a tattoo and body piercing parlor in Port-au-Prince. He parted ways with the organization in 2013, according to Shelley. Clay remains detained in a Pennsylvania lockup pending a court hearing on Mar. 15.

Both devout Christians, Corrigan and Shelley Jean Clay left Washington State and headed to Haiti in 2008. There, they took jobs as “house parents” at an orphanage, where they were in charge of 25 boys ranging in age from 7 to 17. After a year or so, the couple began a workshop that taught locals how to earn money by making jewelry and handicrafts.

Their products were sold locally and in partnerships with large companies abroad, including the Gap, Donna Karan, and Macy’s. The project boasted celebrity clients such as Oprah Winfrey, Ben Stiller, and Kim Kardashian, according to Clay.

“Currently, in addition to teaching adults, they are sponsoring classes for children, offering lunch-time ‘parties’ to feed street kids, and offering food and in some instances shelter to those with little to nothing to call their own,” an arts blogger wrote of the Clays in 2010.

By 2016, the couple’s “desire to continue their care increased,” and they opened the “AP Preschool,” according to the post.

“The year was a success, and in 2017, we added our AP Kindergarten,” it explains. “The goal is to grow with our AP children by adding a class to our school each year! And… to provide quality education, along with character development based on Biblical principles! We are working to raise leaders who will be able to bring positive change to their world!”

By this time, Clay had already been abusing his victim for roughly three years, according to the feds.

Clay and his then-wife launched the nonprofit Apparent Project with an inheritance Clay received from his late father, who died in a plane crash in 2003.

The two had “struggled with fertility issues for years and had decided that if they were going to add to their family, they may as well adopt from a country where thousands of children are abandoned each year,” according to a 2012 profile of the couple in the Deseret News. “Because Haiti requires a two year wait for international adoptions, Clay decided to move into the orphanage where her future son lived.”

They bought a house in Port-au-Prince, “began collecting garbage from the streets,” the profile explains, and the Apparent Project soon started to take shape.

Once they got established, Clay began working on a documentary about Haitian children living in slavery.

“Abandoned by their parents, most work as indentured servants for family members, but some end up in the sex trade,” explained the Deseret profile.

Clay, who earned a degree in visual arts at Seattle Pacific University, a private Christian liberal arts school, was also building his tattooing and body art business, called Ayiti Ink.

“Corrigan enjoys training amature [sic] and professional artists in multiple mediums,” his shop’s still-live website says. “He is currently establishing an apprenticeship course for Haitian tattoo artists to raise the national standards for health, safety, and artistic excellence. He strives to change the negative cultural stigma of the tattoo art form in Haiti by focusing on positive subject matter, beautiful composition, and demanding integrity and ethical business practices from those he trains.”

The site now carries a disclaimer at the bottom, reading: “We are no longer based in Haiti.”

As of late December, the Apparent Project said it employed 25 Haitian teachers and support staff, had enrolled 70-plus Haitian children in its school, had more than 25 teens and adults participating in job training programs, and had enlisted a software engineer to teach Haitians how to code.

“From my experience in the past decade… Haitians have always welcomed prayer,” current executive director Marilyn Monaghan wrote in a blog post. “They have always cried out to God. They still do. I’ve seen their cries of desperation. But now I often see joy & gratitude in their times of prayer & worship! They are experiencing a new life! The seeds ‘you’ sowed into their lives are producing good ‘stuff’ in their hearts & is evident in their daily lives! Their lives have changed.”

Officials with the Apparent Project, which is still registered as a 501(c)3 and has brought in annual donations as high as $715,000, according to tax records, did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.

Clay’s lawyer, William H. Difenderfer, was out of the office on Friday afternoon and unavailable to comment, his assistant said.

If convicted, Clay faces up to 30 years in federal prison.
Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh local
written by Torsten Ove
Monday March 21, 2022 ๐Ÿ‘ˆ๐Ÿ‘ˆ๐Ÿ‘ˆ
Look at how the left is referring to him as a "tattoo artist". This news is totally censored on Google, DuckDuckGo, and Twitter. This was the only article I could find reporting about his court hearing. (emphasis mine)
A federal judge on Monday ordered that a Pittsburgh tattoo artist accused of molesting a child in Haiti for three years be detained, mostly because she said he's at risk to kill himself.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia Dodge said Corrigan Clay, 43, of West Oakland, will remain locked up pending trial.

Federal agents arrested him last week after a grand jury handed up an indictment on a count of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place.

Mr. Clay, who had lived in Haiti from 2008 before moving to Pittsburgh with a new wife in 2020, is accused of sexually abusing a minor in Haiti from January 2014 until December 2017.

The Post-Gazette does not identify the victims of sex crimes.

The allegations against him originated in Florida with local authorities. The case was later adopted by the Justice Department after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Alicia Bove, a Justice Department lawyer, said Mr. Clay molested the girl "undetected for years" and asked that he be detained as a danger to children, a risk to flee and a suicide concern.

In arguing for detention, she recounted the details of the alleged molestation, saying he had confessed to sheriff's deputies in Florida and to his mother in an email. She said he has ties to Haiti, Germany and Canada and owns a 41-foot boat on the Florida coast within an hour of international waters, meaning he has access to take off. A federal agent also testified that until his arrest by agents last week, Mr. Clay had no idea his case would be in federal court and thought it was a local matter.

"We have great concerns about him not showing up and fleeing," Ms. Bove said.

She also said he has asked his family to pray for him because he might commit suicide.

Mr. Clay had previously lived in Haiti with his ex-wife, Shelley Jean Clay, and their four children, two of them biological and two of them adopted. The pair had founded The Apparent Project, a nonprofit ministry and artisan's group originally set up to create art out of trash in Haiti with the intent of stimulating the Haitian economy and helping poor children. Corrigan Clay worked as a tattoo artist in Haiti and had his own shop. He had apparently also worked as a pastor at one point.

Shelley Clay now lives in Florida with the children. Mr. Clay had met his current wife, Ruth Portnoff, in Haiti where she had worked as an agriculturalist from 2015 to 2020. The two married in 2018 and now live in Oakland with their 1-year-old.

William Difenderfer, Mr. Clay's lawyer, said his client is not a risk to flee and argued that his wife and her parents, who live a few doors away, can watch over him and protect the 1-year-old. Ms. Portnoff said her husband immediately sought out counseling after the allegations surfaced and the two go to counseling sessions together.

"He was candid about what happened," she said. "I asked a lot of questions."

Her mother, Lynn Portnoff, said she and her husband would be willing to take Mr. Clay in and keep an eye on him.

Mr. Difenderfer said his client drove to Florida to talk to law officers there about the allegations and could have fled then, but he didn't.

"He's confronting this head-on," he said.

As an added assurance, he and Ms. Portnoff said they would sell the Florida boat.

Judge Dodge said, however, that detention is warranted.

The burden of proof in federal detention hearings is on the defendant to show why he shouldn't be locked up, not on the government to show why he should be. It's the opposite of the state court system. In this case, Judge Dodge had concerns about Mr. Clay’s ties to other nations and the fact that he would be living in a home with a small child.

But she said it was his emotional state that most troubled her.

"I'm emphasizing the risk of suicide," she said.

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