Megachurch pastor and alleged pedophile John Blanchard pulls a Bob Malm, has protestors arrested

By | April 20, 2023
Rock Church has protestors arrested

According to The Virginian Pilot and My Christian Daily, John Blanchard, pastor of Rock Church in Virginia Beach, Va, had protestor Jamie Thomas, 43, handcuffed outside the church and taken before a magistrate last Sunday. He was charged with stalking and disclosing expunged police records — both misdemeanors — and was released on his own recognizance shortly afterward.

Documents provided by Thomas show Blanchard went to a magistrate to file a criminal complaint against him at 1:44 a.m. Sunday. The document said Thomas had come to Blanchard’s “place of work and worship” at least 15 times and had behaved in an intimidating and threatening manner.

Blanchard was one of 17 men arrested in October 2021 during a police sting in Chesterfield County, Va. Police said the men had been communicating with an undercover officer posing as a 17-year-old prostitute and arranged to meet the person at a motel. Each were arrested and charged after they arrived.

While most of the men were fully prosecuted, prosecutors asked to withdraw charges against Blanchard and one other man. Earlier this year, however, Chesterfield County Commonwealth’s Attorney Stacey Davenport announced her office had obtained new evidence against Blanchard and she was referring the case to a special prosecutor from Brunswick County. A judge recently gave the special prosecutor until June 7 to decide whether he plans to seek an indictment of the pastor.

Thomas called the pastor’s claims “bogus.” He said he always stays on a public sidewalk outside the church when he protests, using signs and a bullhorn to get his message across. He routinely records bis protests and posts them to YouTube.

Thomas said he’s only seen Blanchard one time and it was about two weeks ago.

In the video posted Sunday, Thomas can repeatedly be heard saying things like, “Pedophiles don’t belong in churches. They belong in jail.”

Thomas said he sees himself as an “activist for the children” and wants to ensure that people going to Rock Church know about the allegations the pastor has faced. He said he also wants to see Blanchard treated the same as the other men he was charged with during the police sting.

Our take

The arrest appears to be part of a pattern and pratice of unwarranted police and judicial deference to clergy who attempt to infringe First Amendment rights by claiming they feel threatened or are being stalked. But the First Amendment does not limit free speech to one Sunday a month, or to speech with which we agree. Nor do one’s constitutional rights evaporate simply because someone asserts they are threatened; there must be a reasonable belief, fact-based, of an imminent threat of harm.

Moreover, we are consistent in our position. That includes supporting persons like Mr. David Duggan

Among those clergy, churches, and denominations that use these tactics:

For the record, the best way to avoid protestors is to behave appropriately in the first place. The ends do not justify the means, and there is no situation in which it is appropriate to exploit the differential in perceived power between clergy and laity to try to shut down criticism. Moreover, it is disrespectful and abusive to misuse the protective order system in this manner.

Anglican Watch calls upon the relevant police departments and courts to immediately stop interfering with First Amendment-protected activity and drop both criminal and civil cases. Moreover, we demand that churches terminate the employment of clergy who have engaged in abuse of the legal system.

We will provide additional coverage of this story as it becomes available.

Notify of
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


If we have to ask the question, we already know the answer. Time for Blanchard, Malm, and several other dirtbags to hit the bricks.