Police arrested a man who was challenging the congregants of Rock Church International in Virginia Beach, Virginia, over the alleged crimes of its pastor, John Blanchard. Jamie Thomas, 43, was arrested Sunday, April 6, after an hour of protesting outside while the church was holding services.
“Pedophiles don’t belong in churches. They belong in jail,” Thomas repeated throughout his protest, apparently speaking through a megaphone at various points. “John Blanchard is a pedophile…Shame on you, Rock Church, shame on you for supporting a pedophile.”
A video posted to YouTube records an hour of Thomas’ protest and stops mid-arrest. In a different video, Thomas said that the basis for his arrest was intimidation and harassment. The Virginian-Pilot reports the reason as stalking and disclosing expunged police records.
Jamie Thomas: John Blanchard Is a ‘Man of Satan’
John Blanchard, lead pastor of Rock Church International in Virginia Beach, was one of 17 men arrested on Oct. 29, 2021, for solicitation of prostitution from a minor. The pastor appeared on stage at his church a mere two days after his arrest.
At the time, the church posted a statement, saying, “Pastor Blanchard has voluntarily stepped back as lead pastor and from all his ministerial duties until this present situation is totally resolved.” The Rock Church has been supportive of Blanchard, who, along with his wife Robin, remains listed as a pastor at Rock Church on the church’s website as of this writing.
Chesterfield County Commonwealth Attorney Stacey Davenport dropped Blanchard’s case in October 2022. State delegate and attorney Tim Anderson and Chesterfield County Police Chief Jeffery Katz have both criticized this decision. Davenport has said that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.
In December, Blanchard filed a motion to expunge the records related to his case, and Davenport’s office had no objection to this request at the time. On Feb. 6, however, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office changed course and objected to the motion to expunge. Blanchard’s attorney filed an opposing motion, saying that the window for this action had passed.
On Jan. 19, Davenport recused herself from the case and appointed a special prosecutor, who is currently reviewing it. A judge has agreed to delay ruling on whether or not to allow Blanchard’s records to be expunged until the prosecutor is done with his review. The prosecutor has until June 7 to decide whether or not to indict the pastor.
On his YouTube channel, Jamie Thomas describes himself as an “activist” who stands up for children, who “are being GROOMED everywhere they go.” Joining him in his protest Sunday morning were three other people, including his wife and son.
At the beginning of their protest, Thomas and the other participants stood on the sidewalk by a road in front of the church; they later moved to another position outside the church near a parking lot. At this latter location, Thomas commented on the sprinklers that were running, indicating they had been strategically placed to discourage him and the others from protesting.