Home Christian News Florida Pastor, Son and Congregant Face Federal Charges for Capitol Riot

Florida Pastor, Son and Congregant Face Federal Charges for Capitol Riot

david lesperance

On June 24, three people associated with the Global Outreach Ministries church in Melbourne, Florida, were arrested and charged for their involvement with the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Pastor Jim Cusick, 72, his son and church official Casey Cusick, 35, and church member David Lesperance, 69, were charged in federal court with entering restricted grounds, disorderly conduct, and violent entry of the Capitol building. They were released on $25,000 bond each while they await future court appearances.

Florida now accounts for the most arrests stemming from the Jan. 6 uprising, which left five people dead. Of the 500 arrests made so far, 46 have been Floridians.

Tips, David Lesperance Lead to FBI Arrests

The arrest affidavit indicates that the FBI received an initial tip about the Cusicks’ involvement on Jan. 22. Two months later, another anonymous source indicated that David Lesperance had been with the father-son pair. When the FBI spoke to Lesperance at his Florida home, he “admitted that his pastor was also present at President Trump’s speech and then at the U.S. Capitol afterwards,” the affidavit notes, but he didn’t provide the pastor’s name.

Lesperance also told investigators he had erased photos and videos he’d taken on Jan. 6 because he feared “negative repercussions.” But by accessing the cloud and cell-carrier data, the FBI identified geo-tags from inside the Capitol.

Authorities also obtained surveillance video showing Lesperance and the Cusicks among the crowd that breached the building. The three men traveled to Washington, D.C., to listen to then-President Donald Trump speak at a “Stop the Steal” rally outside the Capitol before allegedly entering the building.

None of the three men has commented about the charges, and the Global Ministries Outreach Facebook page has been taken down. One article about the case describes the church’s location as a house in a gated, upscale Melbourne neighborhood. Pastor Jim Cusick founded the church, and his son is listed as a vice president. Both men are graduates of an Oklahoma Bible college.

Officials Address the Events of Jan. 6

In a statement Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that riot-related arrests had topped 500. He thanked Americans for submitting more than 200,000 tips, saying, “The Department of Justice will continue to follow the facts in this case and charge what the evidence supports to hold all Jan. 6 perpetrators accountable.”

Also on Thursday, former Vice President Mike Pence said he’ll “always be proud” of his role in certifying the election hours after the uprising. Though he didn’t mention Trump by name, Pence took issue with the former president, who continues to claim election fraud.

Speaking at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, the former VP said, “The Constitution affords the vice president no authority to reject or return electoral votes submitted to the Congress by the states.” Although some “in our [Republican] party” believe “any one person” can pick the commander in chief, Pence said, “there is almost no idea more un-American.”

Last month, Congressional Republicans blocked the creation of an outside commission to investigate the riot. Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced plans for a select committee to examine the events of Jan. 6, which she called a “day of darkness for our country.”