Breaking News
More () »

Documents detail new evidence against Virginia Beach pastor John Blanchard

Investigators detail in the latest documents what new evidence they found that could lead to prosecutors bringing charges back against the pastor.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — 13News Now peeled back the pages on the investigation surrounding Virginia Beach Rock Church Pastor John Blanchard with a set of new documents.

The documents come from State Del. Tim Anderson's office, which he says he received through the Freedom of Information Act.

In October 2021, Chesterfield investigators arrested Blanchard after they say he communicated with an undercover detective posing as a 17-year-old girl online for sex.

Prosecutors set aside the charges, or "nolle prossed" the charges, about a year later after several court proceedings. 

The documents from Rep. Anderson's office include a mix of emails between prosecutors and Chesterfield County police.

One of the records is an email from a prosecutor with the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office. The prosecutor said his colleague handling the Blanchard case told him Blanchard's attorney offered a resolution with the court, saying Blanchard would take part in the equivalent to sex offender-related counseling.

He went on to write that the prosecutor set aside the charges against Blanchard because, "he advised that they felt we wouldn't get anything out of a misdemeanor conviction, and the better outcome was that Blanchard receive the sex offender counseling, which contained components of a psychosexual evaluation."

The documents did not state if Blanchard followed through with that counseling or where exactly he would receive that counseling. 

In the original police report where undercover detectives communicated with Blanchard online, Chesterfield detectives said Blanchard kept asking if the person "was affiliated with law enforcement in any way." They added, Blanchard showed up at the exact location where they asked him to meet with cash in his pocket. 

In another document when the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office discussed the reason to dismiss the charges, the prosecutor on the case, "advised that the issue was that Blanchard had 'built a defense' because he did not acknowledge the age and that he claimed he was driving and didn't see the text where the UC says she's 17."

In the records for January 2023, Chesterfield Police Chief Col. Jeffrey Katz wrote in an email to Chesterfield Commonwealth's Attorney Stacey Davenport, saying his unit received a new tip, leading to a search warrant of a video connected to the case. 

Chief Katz did not specify what that video showed, but he said he received the tip due to the continuous spotlight on this case. 

His email said this new evidence, "validates our assertions that Blanchard knowingly sought to engage in sex with an underage girl in a Chesterfield County hotel room." 

Davenport recently stated she is stepping back from this case, following scrutiny over how her office handled the prostitution charges. She called the claims made against her "unfounded political attacks."

She said a special prosecutor will take this new evidence to see if there is a need to file charges against Blanchard again.

A Chesterfield Circuit Court judge has yet to publicly name the special prosecutor set to take over the case. That person would have to come from a jurisdiction outside of Chesterfield County.

Before You Leave, Check This Out