Then it got weirder. Blanchard still spoke at his church over the weekend… even though he was arrested two days earlier. He didn’t mention the arrest. The church said nothing.
Somehow things have only gotten worse.
It turns out that, just two years ago, Blanchard’s assistant at the church, Jenna Sellers, pressed charges against him for sexual assault. Blanchard was acquitted, but Sellers stands by her claims:
“He ended up being found not guilty, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen,” said Sellers. “It did happen to me. Church leadership knew and decided not to remove him from his position.”
Sellers said it didn’t take long for her to receive backlash from church leaders.
“They [members] were forbidden from speaking with me. I lost an entire support system,” she said. “Every single one of my friends that I spent the last eight years with… I had to walk away from.”
Sellers said she felt it was important for her to tell her story, In the wake Blanchard’s arrest out of Chesterfield County, Sellers said she was tired of holding back.
Meanwhile, the church has taken down its own Facebook page, likely because they don’t like all the comments they’re getting lately. But if all these details are accurate, it means the church leaders ignored a very clear warning sign years ago when they ignored Sellers’ claims and kept Blanchard as pastor… and now they’re paying the price for it because their church is now best known for being the home of the pastor who tried paying a child for sex.
Just self-inflicted wound after self-inflicted wound. Is there no one at that church with a decent head on their shoulders?
For now, the church’s website still lists Blanchard as pastor. There’s also a brief statement explaining how they can’t say anything but they ask for your prayers.
Under the guidance of our legal counsel, We can not make a statement or comment concerning the accusations against Rev. John Blanchard at this time. We are all committed to walking in integrity and truth at Rock Church International and will continue to take steps to do so. Pastor Blanchard has voluntarily stepped back as lead pastor and from all his ministerial duties until this present situation is totally resolved. During this season, Bishop Anne Gimenez will be stepping in as Lead Pastor and sharing the pulpit with Pastor Robin Blanchard.
Thank you for your prayers and support. The outpouring of love has been overwhelming and we appreciate all of those who have reached out to be an encouragement to us! We would ask that the privacy of the Blanchard family be respected as they walk through this difficult journey together.
There’s nothing in the statement expressing remorse for how Sellers’ allegations were handled or for the victims of sex trafficking who could’ve been abused by Blanchard had his actions not been part of a sting.
In other words… very on brand for this place.