One of the senior pastors at a Virginia Beach megachurch has “stepped back” from his duties after police arrested him and 16 others alleged to have been “soliciting sex from minors.”
John D. Blanchard, 51, has been released from the Chesterfield County Jail in Virginia following his arrest on charges of felony solicitation of prostitution and use of a vehicle to promote prostitution, Chesterfield County Sheriff personnel said.
Blanchard was arrested Friday, the Virginian-Pilot reported, during a sting operation targeting men who authorities say had been chatting online with someone they thought was a teenage girl they could meet for sex. The “girl” was actually a police officer.
ail staff could not say when Blanchard was released. But two days after his arrest, Blanchard was on stage Sunday morning at Rock Church of Virginia Beach, the livestream recording shows. Church co-founder Anne Gimenez preached and Blanchard’s arrest wasn’t mentioned. Blanchard’s wife Robin invited him up for a brief Pastor Appreciation Month presentation and at the end of the service, he shared “the ABCs of salvation” for the altar call.
Court records didn’t list Blanchard’s case as of Wednesday, and it’s unclear if he has a lawyer who can speak for him.
Founded by investigative journalist Julie Roys, The Roys Report began as a personal blog where Julie published her commentaries and occasional investigative pieces while working as a national radio host on Moody Radio. However, in 2018, Julie published a series of articles on her website, exposing corruption and mission drift at the Moody Bible Institute.