Church minister ran prostitution ring involving kids as young as 16

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A pastor in the US has been arrested for allegedly being part of a prostitution ring that involved minors as young as 16 years old.

John Blanchard, 51, the pastor of Rock Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA, is among the 17 men arrested by police for allegedly looking for sex through online and social media platforms.

According to The Virginian Pilot, the men thought they were talking to minors and were arranging to meet them, but instead they were talking to undercover detectives.

The 51-year-old was arrested on Friday on charges of solicitation of prostitution from a minor age 16 or older and using a vehicle to promote prostitution or unlawful sex.

Jim Booker, Blanchard’s neighbour, told WTKR News 3 that he was surprised by the news of the pastor’s arrest.

He said: "This is a shock to me because I know him fairly well. He’s never given me any indication over the years that I’ve known him that he would be mixed up in anything like this.

"I know evil is always present and always trying to take down those who claim Jesus Christ. I’m going to pray for him and be there for him. If he needs someone to talk to, I’m going to be there to talk to him."

According to the Rock Church’s website, Blanchard has served as senior pastor of the congregation alongside his wife, Robin, since October 2013.

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The church notes: "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."

Both he and his wife spoke during Sunday’s service, with neither addressing the charges, which were announced the next day.

Church founder Anne Gimenez told WAVY that "at this time we do not have enough information to make a comment".

  • Crime
  • Christianity
  • Jesus

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