Joubert faces felony charges



Hour Staff Writer
The Hour
Norwalk, CT
January 4, 2010

A local minister arrested by New York City police on rape charges, stood confidently before a Norwalk judge on Monday to defend allegations that he beat a 13-year-old girl at his home on Lexington Avenue.

The Rev. Phillip Joubert, 48, of 21 Lexington Ave., now faces charges in Norwalk of risk of injury to a minor, a felony, and third-degree assault, a misdemeanor.

Joubert kept his chin to the ceiling as Judge Bruce Hudock issued a protective order over the alleged victim, which bars Joubert from having any contact with the girl until the order is lifted.

Joubert will appear back in court on Jan. 13, at which point he intends to plead not guilty to the charges, according to his Greenwich-based attorney Philip Russell.

The charges in Norwalk stem from a Nov. 14 incident in which Joubert allegedly punched a 13-year-old girl in the face and several times about the torso after he came home to find his Lexington Avenue apartment was messy, according to his arrest warrant affidavit.

His wife, who is currently in the process of divorcing her husband, was watching television with her children when Joubert burst into the apartment and started an argument over some notebooks that were stacked against the side of the couch, the affidavit states.

Joubert then punched the teenage girl on the side of the face and then three more times in the back after she told him she would clean up her school books when she was done watching TV, according to the affidavit.

Joubert's wife filed a written complaint with the Norwalk Police Department later that week complaining that her husband continued to hit the girl as she begged him to stop. She also stated that Joubert hit the girl with "as much force as he would use if he was hitting a grown man," the affidavit states.

Russell, who spoke on behalf of Joubert, said his client maintains his innocence.

"It's important to remember that he is presumed innocent; he intends to plead not guilty and we expect that if we cannot resolve this case, that there will be a trial and his name will be cleared," Russell said.

Regarding the rape charges his client currently faces in Queens, Russell said, the incident in Norwalk "came out of the same thing, but at this point the details are still murky."

According to sources, the rape allegations against Joubert came to light after the Nov. 14 incident in Norwalk, when the victim told her mother about the alleged sexual abuse that had occurred over the summer at Joubert's home in Queens.

Joubert turned himself in to Norwalk police on Thursday after learning that there was a warrant out for his arrest. He was arrested on Nov. 24 by New York City police as he arrived at JFK International Airport in Queens following a trip to Israel. He is currently free on $350,000 bond.

Joubert was flanked by several friends and fellow ministers on Monday. Russell said his client "has been receiving calls and letters of support from all over the country" since the allegations surfaced.

"(Joubert) has devoted his life to the church, he's devoted his life to his congregation, he is without blemish, he has no history of any conflicts of any kind," Russell said outside the courthouse Monday. "This is a first time through (the legal system), which makes it additionally upsetting and traumatic for him."

Russell said Joubert would comply with the protective order issued Monday, however he cited concerns to Judge Hudock that "the protected person lives across the street from where (Joubert) earns his livelihood."

Joubert is the founding pastor of New Light Missionary Baptist Church in Norwalk, where he remains an active minister. He also maintains a dual residence in his hometown of Queens, and leads the Sunday sermons at the Community Baptist Church in Bayside.

According to his online biography, Joubert earned a bachelor's degree from Nyack College and a master's degree from the School of Theology at Virginia Union University. Joubert also holds a doctorate in divinity from the Virginia Theological Seminary and College in Lynchburg, Va. and has studied at Baptist ministries across the world.

See also: "Family and former co-worker say: Minister arrested for rape had two sides," The Hour, 12/4/09