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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor John Blanchard Accused of Solicitation of Minors for Prostitution

pastor john blanchard

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

John Blanchard, pastor of Rock Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia, stands accused of solicitation of minors for prostitution.

NBC News reports:

Virginia pastor is accused of solicitation of minors for prostitution after a police sting.

John Blanchard, 51, is one of 17 men the Chesterfield County Police Special Victims Unit says were allegedly looking for sex through online and social media platforms, NBC affiliate WAVY reported.

The men thought they were talking to minors and were arranging to meet them, but instead they were talking with detectives, police said in a statement, according to The Virginian Pilot.

Blanchard was arrested Oct. 29 on charges of solicitation of prostitution from a minor age 16 or older and using a vehicle to promote prostitution or unlawful sex. He was released on bond.

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Blanchard and his wife, Robin, are senior pastors at Rock Church in Virginia Beach, according to the church’s website. They have been lead pastors since 2013.

Blanchard’s church bio states:

John & Robin Blanchard are the Senior Pastors of the Rock Church of Virginia Beach.

Set in as the lead pastors in October 2013, John & Robin received their ministerial training while serving under Bishops John & Anne Gimenez for over twenty years in full time ministry.

Coming from a background in atheism and a dysfunctional childhood, John’s heart is to reach a generation with a message of hope through the healing and delivering power of Jesus Christ.

This message has taken his ministry to dozens of countries all over the world and the USA and to procure a Masters of Divinity Degree from Oral Roberts University.

He and his wife, Robin and daughters, **** & ****, reside in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Short Stories: Bruce, the Moral Crusader and the Massage Parlor

bruce polly gerencser our fathers house west unity
Polly and Bruce Gerencser, Our Father’s House, West Unity, Ohio Circa 2000

After resigning from Olive Branch Christian Union Church in Fayette, Ohio in 1995, I rented the old library building in nearby West Unity and started Grace Baptist Church — later renamed Our Father’s House. I remained the pastor of this church for seven years.

While I became more ecumenical and progressive politically during this time, I remained a fire-breathing moral crusader. West Unity was the last dry (no alcohol sales) community in Ohio. When the American Legion, directly across the street from the church, put an initiative on the local ballot to allow alcohol sales, I decided to make it my personal mission to defeat the measure. I sent out letters to churches, wrote letters to the editors of local newspapers, and went door to door handing out flyers — all in the hope of soundly defeating the ballot issue. Teetotaling Evangelicals, including a handful of church members, rallied around my cause, and sure enough, the issue was defeated. What a great victory for Pastor Bruce and the true Christians who defeated Satan and his army of boozers. It didn’t take me long, however, to learn that I had won the battle but lost the war. In winning, I lost the respect of many people in the community — primarily non-Evangelicals. While Evangelical God-lovers praised my name, liberal Christians, local business owners, bankers, and the like were no longer friendly towards me.

In the late 1990s, a criminal concern out of Chicago opened a massage parlor 10 miles west of our church at Exit One on the Ohio Turnpike. This was the first adult oriented business to ever operate in Williams County. When I learned of its existence, I quickly set out to close it down. I rallied pastors and business owners to my cause, along with my usual shtick of writing letters to local newspapers. The Bryan Times refused to print my letter because I alleged, without evidence, that prostitution was indeed taking place at the business. Other newspapers published my letters.

I also wrote letters to local law enforcement, along with local and state politicians. I drew a clear line in the stand: close this business in the name of God and morality. Little did I know that I was involving myself in an issue that I knew nothing about. I wrongly assumed that law enforcement — namely the Williams County Sheriff’s Department — was sitting on its ass, doing nothing to remove this “vile” establishment from our County.

One day, the phone rang at the church. It was the Sheriff calling for the Bruce, the moral crusader. Boy, was he upset at me. He wanted me to know that I was ruining a joint sting operation between the Sheriff’s office and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. When I told the Sheriff that I had no intention of gumming up his operation, he calmed down a bit and politely asked to me end my crusade. And if I did so, I would be invited to the go with them when they raided the massage parlor.

Several weeks later, law enforcement gathered at a motel across the street from the parlor to prepare for the raid. There I was, a definite outsider, little more than someone who got a consolation prize for not fucking things up for them. The raid proved to be quite anti-climatic — pun intended. There were no customers in the massage parlor, just two well-worn Asian women in their late 40s. Seized in the raid were credit cards, condoms, cash, and food stamps. Yes, food stamps. Evidently, the massage parlor took food stamps as payment for services rendered. The parlor employees were later prosecuted on solicitation charges, but, if I remember correctly, served no jail time. This would be the last moral crusade for me. Lessons learned.

My opinions about adult businesses, sex workers, and “morality” changed dramatically over the next two decades. Bruce, the moral crusader died an ignoble death that day at Exit One on the Ohio Turnpike. Instead of focusing on the business itself, I began to think about the women and how the Chicago men they worked for likely coerced them and other women into working at the massage parlor. While I now support legal, consensual sex work, I still wonder about the women arrested during the raid. What kind of life did they have up to that point? What kind of life did they have after their arrests? Did I make life better for them? Or did I just make a bunch of white Evangelical Christians feel morally superior to these women? I suspect I know the answer to these questions.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Black Collar Crime: Baptist Student Pastor Christopher Keys Fakes Kidnapping to Cover-Up Hiring a Prostitute

pastor christopher keys

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Christopher Keys, a student pastor at Wesleyan Drive Baptist Church in Macon, Georgia and a former teacher at Tattnall Square Academy, stands accused of faking his kidnapping to cover-up hiring a male prostitute.

The Daily Mail reports:

A Georgia Christian school teacher has been charged for solicitation of sodomy after local authorities looked into a robbery and kidnapping that was spawned from a rumor ‘circulating around Facebook.’ 

The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office arrested 56-year-old Christopher Keys and are investigating the robbery that he initially reported on May 19. 

They shared in a Thursday press release that the office had received an inquiry about a rumored ‘carjacking and kidnapping’ that took place on Wednesday at the CVS Pharmacy on 1600 block of Forest Hill Drive. 

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According to an incident report, deputies met with Keys at the Regency Inn & Suites for calls about an armed robbery. 

Keys claimed that he had been in the motel when he heard a knock at his door. Once he opened the door, two masked men robbed him of his wallet, house, truck and work keys, and a cell phone. One of the men was armed, Keys told deputies. 

He told authorities that he was able to get his cell phone back only after a stranger retrieved it from a nearby Walmart parking lot. 

Keys explained to deputies that he was supposed to meet a man in his hotel room, having responded to an ad on Craigslist. 

An investigation revealed that Keys had been frequently visiting the hotel since January. 

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Towleroad adds:

Key subsequently told an acquaintance that he had been kidnapped in his truck at a nearby CVS, forced to drive to the motel, and robbed. After a woman posted Keys’ story about the kidnapping and robbery on Facebook (above), it was shared hundreds of times, prompting WMAZ-TV to look into the rumor.

As it turns out, Keys met with police at the hotel after the robbery, telling a sheriff’s deputy that “he liked to play around and was married to a woman,” the station reports. In an interview with the deputy, Keys even revealed his plan to tell his family that he was kidnapped at the CVS. Two days later, he was arrested and charged with solicitation of sodomy, a misdemeanor. (Although the U.S. Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws in 2003, Georgia’s solicitation of sodomy statute has been upheld.)

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Keys recently worked as a teacher at Tattnall Square Academy, where he taught upper-school Bible, worked with the chapel band, and served as coordinator for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, according to his now-deleted bio (above).

“I am a people person and love to teach young people the truths of the Bible,” he wrote in the bio.

“I have been married for 20 years to my wife Jennie. I am a graduate of FPD and Mercer University and Southwestern Seminary. I am currently the student pastor at Wesleyan Drive Baptist Church in Macon and I’ve been in student ministry for 28 years.”

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Keys also once worked as a bailiff for the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, which arrested him. Sheriff’s investigators are still searching for the robbery suspects, who made off with Keys’ wallet, cell phone, and keys — although his phone reportedly was recovered in the parking lot of a nearby Walmart.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Black Collar Crime: Independent Baptist Worship Pastor Kurt Stephens Busted in Prostitution Sting

kurt stephens

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Kurt Stephens, the pastor for worship and administration at Palmetto Baptist Church in Piedmont, South Carolina, was arrested earlier this month in a prostitution sting. Palmetto Baptist quickly scrubbed Stephens from their website, but he lives on in cached Google pages. Stephens’ church bio states:

Kurt Stephens has served as the Pastor for Worship and Administration at Palmetto Baptist Church since its start in 2010. Kurt’s primary role is to lead in executing plans and programs that support the mission and vision of the church. Kurt also oversees the operations of the church relating to finance, facilities, and building plans.

Prior to joining the church planting team at Palmetto, Kurt served as the Operations Manager at SoundForth Music for four years. In addition to his role at SoundForth, Kurt also worked for two years as Account Manager at Your Creative People, a digital branding firm in the upstate. He previously served as Worship Pastor for a combined total of eighteen years at Oakwood Baptist Church, Anderson, SC; and Berean Baptist Church, Lilburn, GA.

As part of the leadership team, Kurt teaches, pastors, and leads Palmetto in heartfelt worship. His desire is to win unbelievers, and strengthen, encourage, and support the hands of those who serve through music and the Word. Kurt and his wife, ****, are the proud parents of three children: *****.

According to LinkedIn, Stephens is a graduate of Bob Jones University.

Based on a cursory review of information available on the Internet, I have concluded that Palmetto Baptist is an Independent Baptist congregation.

Black Collar Crime: Mormon Bishop David Moss Arrested on Sex Crime Charges

david moss

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

David Moss, a Mormon bishop at the Mill Pond Ward in Lehi, Utah, was arrested last month in a human trafficking sting.

Fox-13 reports:

Detectives say 51-year-old David N. Moss, using the alias “Pilot”, contacted women he believed to be prostitutes on social media. Moss told the women he could manage them, which he claimed was different from being a pimp.

Officers say Moss told the women he could protect them, help them avoid police, and book their clients on their behalf. He told the women he had “run” other girls in the past.

Moss ultimately met with the two undercover officers, and during that meeting he showed them cash and said he was “not opposed to paying” for services, detectives allege. He also detailed ways to avoid police and at that point forcibly grabbed one woman’s hand and placed it on his genitals.

The document states Moss then unzipped his pants and exposed himself to the two undercover detectives.

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Detectives wrote that Moss’ current position as a religious leader and his prior work as a vice squad cop in St. George gave them reason to worry there may be more victims out there.

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Moss was booked into jail for the Lehi incident on charges of exploiting a prostitute, patronizing a prostitute, sexual battery, and two counts of lewdness.

Moss was a former police officer. He was in charge of the vice squad for the St. George Police Department. According to Fox-13:

Capt. Mike Giles, St. George Police, said Moss previously supervised their vice squad but resigned his position in their department seven years ago. He said Moss was involved in a consensual sexual relationship that had “an on-duty component” but was not in any way related to the current allegations Moss faces.

Giles said Moss resigned after his case went to a pre-determination meeting but before any recommendation for termination was made.

 

IFB Preacher Donnie Romero Caught Cavorting With Prostitutes, Smoking Weed, and Gambling

donnie romero

Donnie Romero is the pastor of Stedfast Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Texas. Romero is the bosom buddy of Steven Anderson, pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona. Yesterday, Anderson released a video detailing Romero’s resignation from Stedfast Baptist. According to Pope Anderson, Romero was cavorting with prostitutes, smoking weed, and gambling.  What’s next? Romero secretly used the NIV to study for his sermons? The good news is that according to Anderson’s and Romero’s soteriology, the fallen pastor is still saved. There’s nothing Romero can do to ever lose his salvation. Once saved, always saved, baby, even if Romero brings shame to his family or infects his wife with a STD.

Anderson must be livid over Romero exposing that his little club of IFB churches is just like the rest of the bunch; that for all their talk about soulwinning, homosexuality, and any human behavior they deem sinful, these “men of God” are no different from the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world.

Here’s Anderson  five-minute video:

Video Link

Here’s Anderson’s eighty minute speech to congregants at Stedfast Baptist. It is evident, at least to me, that Anderson views himself as the Apostle Paul of his little group of hyper-fundamentalist Baptist churches. Anderson has already chosen a new pastor for the church.

Video Link

Romero’s church bio states:

Pastor Donnie Romero was born in Western Colorado in 1982. He was raised as a Roman Catholic. In 2002 at the age of 19, he was saved through door to door soul winning. He met his wife ***** a few years later. In 2007, they started to attend an independent Baptist church and were married shortly thereafter. The Romero’s have been blessed with 7 wonderful children. Pastor Romero is now faithfully training up men to preach the gospel door to door as the bible teaches.

Pastor Romero does not believe that churches are started by bible colleges or denominations, but they are built by the Lord Jesus Christ, through soul winning and hard Bible preaching. He is a faithful soul winner and has a desire to see lives changed as a result of the Word of God. He also whole heartedly believes that the Bible is the final authority in all matters of life.

If you are up to it, please read the YouTube comments. You will gain fresh insight into how IFB Christians think. Some commenters believe Romero is a hero, a man of character for owning up to his “sins.”  That his confession shows that the “new” IFB church movement takes such behaviors seriously. Sure it does . . .

You can check out Romero’s sermons here. Please have a barf bag handy, you will need it!

Do You Want a Date, Hon?

naiveAfter my freshman year of classes at Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan, I returned home to my mother’s palatial palace — also known as a trailer — on U.S. Hwy. 6, five miles southwest of Bryan, Ohio. I had come home to work, hoping to earn enough money to pay for my next year of college. I accepted a first shift machine operator position at Holabird Manufacturing, a manufacturer of cheap furniture — cheap as in trailer show furniture. Holabird would close its doors and file for bankruptcy in 1983. I also worked a second shift job at Bard Manufacturing, a maker of HVAC units. I was attending First Baptist Church in Bryan at the time. One of the church’s deacons was a manager for Bard. He graciously arranged for Bard to hire me for the summer.

I was twenty years old in the summer of 1977, strong, fit, and full of energy. Had I not been, I would never have been able to work eighty hours a week: 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM at Holabird and 4:00 PM to midnight at Bard. I didn’t catch up on sleep on the weekends either. Oh no, weekends were for running around with friends, going to one of the local lakes, or trekking to Newark to visit Polly for the day. That’s right, for the day. Polly’s mom did not like me and treated me like a rash she hoped would go away. I would get up early on Saturday, drive three hours to Newark, spend as much time as I could with Polly, and turn around and drive three hours back to Bryan. (Under no circumstances would Polly’s mom let me spend the night.) On more than one occasion, I was so exhausted that I pulled off along the road and slept for several hours. The things we’ll do for love, right?

I followed the aforementioned schedule for twelve weeks. Come late August, it was time for me to return to Midwestern to begin my sophomore year. I packed my belongings into my car and headed in the general direction of Pontiac, Michigan. As I neared Toledo, I decided to take U.S. Route 23 to Pontiac. Ninety minutes into my drive, I exited the highway into a rest stop. I needed to stretch my legs and use the restroom. As I walked towards the restroom, a 30-ish large-breasted woman wearing revealing clothing came up to me and said, Do you want a date, Hon? Confused, I replied, excuse me? The woman repeated, Do you want a date? I smiled and said to her, no thanks, I already have a girlfriend. And with that, I continued walking to the restroom. As I walked back to my car, I saw the woman walking with a man towards a parked delivery van.

almost twelve kenneth taylor

I was quite naïve when it came to matters of sex. My sex education consisted of reading an Evangelical book titled Almost Twelve and six years of locker room sex ed. I knew the fundamentals, but as far a broader understanding of human sexuality and its darker, seamier side, I knew nothing. And as ignorant as I was, my fiancée was even worse. One warm day in the spring of 1977, Polly was in the college parking lot, sitting in her car — a 1972 AMC Hornet. Purchased new in 1972 by Polly’s father after the family car broke down in California, by 1976 the car was already worn out, a piece of junk. This car is a story unto itself, one that I will tell another day. For now, picture sweet, naïve Polly sitting in her car, AM radio blaring, singing along with Starland Vocal Band’s hit Afternoon Delight. I came up to the car window and asked what she was listening to. She replied, Afternoon Delight. I said, you know that song is about having sex! Polly replied, IT IS NOT! The song is about having fun in the afternoon. Slightly less naïve Bruce took the time to educate sheltered Polly about exactly what it was they were having fun doing in the afternoon. This lesson would pay dividends after we married and we experienced a bit of afternoon delight ourselves.

Video Link

After I returned to college, I told my roommate about what the woman had asked me at the rest stop. She asked me if I wanted to have a date! Why I didn’t even know her. Why would she want me to go on a date? I already have a girlfriend. My room-mate laughed and said, she was a prostitute and was asking you if you wanted to have sex with her. Really? I relied. Yes, really. I would receive many more such lessons over the next year. These are stories left for another day.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Dan Syrcle Arrested on Prostitution Charges

dan syrcle

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Dan Syrcle, pastor of First Salem Church in Wichita, Kansas,  was arrested yesterday on “suspicion of purchasing sexual relations and official misconduct.”
The Wichita Eagle reports:

A volunteer chaplain for the Wichita Police Department and Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office was arrested during a prostitution investigation.

Daniel Lee Syrcle, 53, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of purchasing sexual relations and official misconduct, police Deputy Chief Jose Salcido and sheriff’s Col. Greg Pollock said in a prepared statement on Friday.

Syrcle has been terminated from both assignments, the statement said. He was an unpaid, volunteer chaplain.

The Wichita police VICE section was conducting a prostitution investigation when it discovered Syrcle’s involvement, the statement said.

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Black Collar Crime: Rabbi Aryeh Goodman Accused of Having Sex with a 17-Year-Old Prostitute

rabbi aryeh goodman

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Rabbi Aryeh Goodman, who runs a Jewish community center out of his home, was arrested last month on allegations he engaged in child prostitution.

The New York Post reports:

A New Jersey rabbi has been busted alongside two others on charges of human trafficking and child prostitution, according to authorities.

Rabbi Aryeh Goodman, 35, was one of some 30 men who allegedly paid to have sex with a 17-year-old girl in an East Brunswick hotel, says the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

Bronx residents Gabriella Colon, 18, and Richard Ortiz, 23, were also arrested for selling the teen’s services to the bevy of creeps from Jan. 1 to Feb. 2, 2018.

Goodman, who runs a Jewish community center out of his East Brunswick home, was slapped with one count of engaging in prostitution with a child and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. Though he bills the center as part of Chabad, prosecutors and a rep said Goodman is in no way affiliated with the organization.

He turned himself in on Feb. 6, prosecutors said.

Colon and Ortiz were hit with various charges, including human trafficking, conspiracy to commit human trafficking, promoting prostitution of a child, conspiracy to promote prostitution of a child, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal restraint.

The duo were also charged with the manufacturing, distribution of and possession of child pornography.

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Bruce Gerencser