“Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen link
I have long contended that the bizarre and somewhat deranged attack by Mr Nobody and the infamous anti-Dee letter had everything to do with specific situation. A review of that letter, along with disgusting tweets by Frank Turk (one of Phil Johnson’s original sidekicks on Pyromaniacs) shows a particular concern about Tom Chantry, an ARBCA pastor who had been credibly accused of child abuse. TWW believes the victims in this situation.
There seems to be a friendly tie between Phil Johnson and Frank Turk with Tom Chantry. Frank Turk admitted this to be true.
Yesterday, Phil Johnson, after leaving Twitterverse as he said, returned. I did an update to my original post on Johnson and Howse which you can read here. In my Twitter exchange with Johnson, he attacked TWW which is to be expected. However, he got down to business in this tweet.
I believe that he was alluding to the Tom Chantry situation and I even said so.
Tom Chantry is a protected™ pastor within the Phil Johnson, Frank Turk and Fred Butler, Grace to You (John MacArthur) firmament. That means we are not allowed to discuss his pending trial until “all the facts are known” per Phil Johnson.
Do the outcomes of court trials (or even ecclesiastical courts) definitively determine guilt or innocence?
Scenario 1: Does a *not guilty* finding in a court trial mean the person is innocent? Is OJ Simpson *innocent* in the death of his wife and her boyfriend?
We all remember the “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit” moment during the Simpson trial. Simpson was acquitted but does this mean he is innocent? Of course not. It merely means the evidence that was submitted by the prosecution was not enough to convince the jury to convict him of the crime. Interestingly, most people believe that Simpson was guilty. He is simply *not guilty* the eye of the law. That doesn’t mean he is innocent.
Most incidents of child sex abuse occur behind closed doors. That means there are usually no witnesses. Since most children and teens are so shocked and intimidated by molestation, they rarely report what happened in sufficient time to collect physical evidence. Therefore, all that is left is victim outcry (Yes- a child’s testimony is valid evidence) as well as before and after the fact observations of involved individuals.
TWW tends to believe the victims for two reasons.
- Child sex abuse statistics readily show that most children do not lie about such occurrences. TWW wants to be one of the 66% of places which believe the victims.
2. Why would anyone want to go through the pain of, and be re-traumatized by, the police reporting and court proceedings which dredge up each little disgusting detail of the molestation? To top it off, many friends and church members associated with the accused often sit in the court room, glaring at the victim. No wonder so many adults and children refuse to testify in these situations.
Scenario 2: Does a verdict of *guilty* mean that the defendant is conclusively guilty?
Jesus was declared guilty and put to death for his supposed crimes. Nuff said.
I get it. It’s hard to admit that your friend could also be a molester. The difficulty for many people is reconciling that a person that is a friend or a family member could also be guilty of a serious crime. This is especially true when it involves *men of the cloth.* Some individuals pride themselves in *knowing* people. When they realize that they were wrong (and all of us can be,) their default mode is to deny it. Sadly, child sex abuse is the easiest thing to deny because it happens behind closed doors.
I wrote a post about Barnabas Piper and his divorce. He appeared to be blaming his wife for the demise of the marriage. I received a lot of pushback on that post. One person wrote me and said that Piper was the *most transparent and honest* person he had ever met. However, in that post, I also documented that Piper had been fired from a job for lying and had been thrown out of his home for lying. Yep-This is John Piper’ son. I told the person who wrote me that he had absolutely no idea what went on behind closed doors. He was merely choosing which version of the story in which to believe.
The best, most recent example of this is the Iain Campbell’s story. This is another guy that was beloved by Frank Turk and many other Reformed leaders. He was an expert on the Bible and hypocrisy. All those who knew this man and claimed that Anne Campbell was making this up have had their comeuppance. It appears no one saw the flagrant lies of a sexual predator.
I was excoriated for believing the initial reports on Campbell. One individual accused me of *jumping the gun* and said he would speak out when the *facts* were knows. When those facts were known, I asked this individual for his response. He said “So what do you want me to say?” He had no intention of ever speaking out.
Brent Detweiler’s update on Tom Chantry. Will Chantry work out a *Nolo contendere* deal? Is he being persecuted like Jesus?
Chantry was due to go trial in 2 weeks but that has been postponed. Here is what Brent Detweiler has learned. He has linked to all 14 police reports. Warning: They are difficult to read. Ask yourself the following question. Why in the world would anyone make up a report like this and then subject themselves to difficult cross examination in a trial?
Be sure to read the addendum at the end of the post.
ARBCA stands for the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America. See http://www.arbca.com/.
ARBCA also stands for a new website called Awareness in Reformed Baptist Churches of America. See http://arbca.org/. It is operated by Anthony Battaglia. He is a straight shooter – literally and figuratively. He is the owner and president of TactiPac – Tactical Solutions Provider.
Mr. Battaglia is also a deacon at First Baptist Church in Clinton, Louisiana which is an ARBCA church. He is very concerned the association is covering up for one its former pastors, Tom Chantry. The other day, he posted some very helpful information. More in a minute.
Tom Chantry was arrested on five counts of sexual molestation and two counts of aggravated assault concerning five victims on July 25, 2016.
He was jailed and denied bond after a hearing by The Honorable Bradley H. Astrowsky. The Judge withheld bail based upon this statute.
“A person charged with a felony may be held without bail if, after a hearing, the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the proof is evident or the presumption great that the person committed the offense, that the person poses a substantial danger to another person or the community or engaged in conduct consisting a violent offense, and that no condition or combination of conditions of release may be imposed that will reasonably assure the safety of the other person or the community.”
Chantry’s lawyer appealed the ruling on technical grounds and prevailed on May 5, 2017. Chantry was released from jail on a $250,000 secured bond under the following conditions as reported by Maz Efrein in The Daily Courier.
“He may not have contact with children except for his own – and even that contact must be supervised by another adult. He is not to come within 100 feet of where children are. He must surrender his passport and check in with pre-trial services in Yavapai County [in Arizona] once a week.”
These are very strict requirements because Judge Astrowsky believed Chantry posed a “substantial danger.” Therefore, he did his best under the circumstances to “assure the safety of the other person or the community.” That is, potential victims of Chantry.
Chantry is not allowed to have contact with children or be within 100 feet of children except his own and then only if he is supervised by an adult. Practically, that means he is confined to his home. He had to surrender his passport so he could not flee the country. He also checks in with court officials on a weekly basis that monitor his compliance and whereabouts.
I have written about Chantry on five previous occasions.
Tom Chantry, Well Known Reformed Baptist Pastor, Charged on Multiple Counts of Child Molestation & Aggravated Assault with Serious Injury
Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at 3:51 PM
Did Reformed Baptist Leaders Cover Up Tom Chantry’s Alleged Sex Crimes & Serious Physical Injury of Children?
Saturday, December 10, 2016 at 4:06 PM
My Letters to All Lead Pastors in ARBCA to Investigate the Past Cover Up of Tom Chantry’s Sins & Alleged Crimes
Friday, December 30, 2016 at 4:12PM
Thomas Chantry Trial for Sexual Molestation & Aggravated Assault Set for March 27, 2017
Monday, January 9, 2017 at 5:40 PM
Tom Chantry Could Have Been Out of Jail this Week for Child Abuse Charges if He Showed Up for Trial
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 5:17 PM
On the other hand, Tom Chantry’s wife, Karen; members from his and her family at large, and top officials in the Association of Reformed Baptist Church in America (ARBCA) have claimed Chantry is innocent of all charges, the alleged victims are lying, and the police are making something out of nothing. They have embraced the abusive tactic of discrediting everyone while they extol Chantry as a paragon of virtue.
For example, Karen Chantry and her father, Al Huber (an influential pastor in ARBCA) have claimed Tom is being persecuted like Jesus Christ, suffering a great trial like righteous Job and being mistreated like Joseph by his brothers. Moreover, pastors throughout ARBCA are claiming Chantry is innocent of all charges and passing on this reckless assessment to their church members despite the testimony of multiple victims and witnesses, the work of numerous detectives that led to his arrest and incarceration, and the ruling of the Judge who denied him bail. Of course, none of these people know what they are talking about or doing according to Chantry supporters!
They have also set up a Legal Defense Fund for Chantry and asked people to give money based upon his innocence. Furthermore, I have read ARBCA documents, interacted with ARBBA pastors, and listened to messages by ARBCA leaders regarding Chantry. In all I have read or heard, no one has expressed care or concern for the well-being of the alleged victims of physical and sexual abuse.
I’ve had most of the 14 police reports for a long time but never posted them. Instead, I typed up some of the charges for past articles about Chantry. Anyway, Anthony Battaglia has provided clean copies of all the reports which amounts to 48 pages. You can find them here. Remember, according to family, top officials, pastors, and elders throughout ARBCA, none of what you read in the police reports is true! Yikes. This is one diabolical conspiracy to cover up the physical and sexual abuse of children – IMO!
Battaglia also had an important phone discussion on August 14, 2017 with Jessica Belling, the lead detective on Chantry’s case, regarding his alleged crimes not being reported to law enforcement by ARBCA officials when his physical abuse of children was discovered and documented in 2000. You can listen to the entire conversation here. It is 11:05 minutes long. Here are some important excerpts.
Battaglia explained his situation to Detective Belling.
“We are dealing with a situation to where The Association of Baptist Churches has pretty much denied that any of their Baptist’s ministers, the ones who investigated, or the ones from the Committee. They are denying, I guess from the original 2000 report that any of them had knowledge of physical or sexual abuse in such a way that they felt compelled to actually call law enforcement. So they are saying from the original documentation they cite from a Miller Valley Baptist Church report, that was apparently sealed from the eyes of the association; they are saying that their ministers as they met, and the three men who were tasked to investigate at Miller Valley, that essentially all their investigation contained in the original 2000 report that was submitted for evidence, I believe, said none of those guys had knowledge of physical or sexual abuse so they did not deem it necessary to call law enforcement at that time back in 2000.”
Miller Valley Baptist Church (MVBC) in Prescott, AZ is the church Chantry pastored from 1995-2000. The alleged victims of molestation and aggravated assault were children in the church.
“The ones who investigated” on behalf of MVBC were Eric Owens and Richard Howe. Both were elders in the church. Their testimony is found in the police reports. They worked with the three-man investigative committee from ARBCA.
“The ones from the Committee” were Tedd Tripp, an author and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church of Hazleton, PA; Richard Jensen, a former police officer and pastor of Hope Reformed Baptist Church on Long Island; and Mike McKnight, a lawyer and elder from Grace Baptist Church in Carlisle, PA.
These three men were chosen by coordinator Bob Selph and the Administrative Council for the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches. I am not certain who was on the Administrative Council in 2000 but they “sealed from the eyes of the association” the report written by Tripp, Jensen, and McKnight. In other words, they refused to release the investigative report to the pastors and churches in ARBCA. The current Administrative Council has done the same. The men on this council are typically the most powerful and influential in the association.
Detective Belling responds to Battaglia’s inquiry and says the MVBC elders, ARBCA investigative committee, and ARBCA Administrative Council knew “the physical abuse” was “actually child abuse” but “did not report it” based on “documentation” in her possession.
Here is what she says about the matter.
“I can’t speak on behalf of what they were thinking, obviously back then, I can just go based off of what documentation I have. … In one of those documents it states that what they were investigating was in fact child abuse and that it could have been reported to law enforcement. … So to me, that shows they did have enough to report it to law enforcement and that they didn’t. Whether they knew about the molest or not at that time, I don’t know … but the physical abuse, I believe they did know, was actually child abuse and they did not report it. I’d say they probably had their suspicions of other things that were going on because the pastor was spanking these kids bare bottomed in private but I don’t believe any of the kids had made full disclosures at that time.”
“That makes perfect sense. That is our, that is the general felling across the board and that’s our general feeling why information is not being released to us.”
He is correct. The Administrative Council is not going to release the 2000 report by Tripp, Jensen and McKnight or any other potentially incriminating documentation unless compelled by the court.
I remain skeptical Chantry’s case will be tried. I hope I am wrong! I think he will plea no contest if the court allows to avoid a jury trial that likely results in a guilty verdict given the abundant evidence against him.
“A no contest plea is a plea used in criminal proceedings as an alternative to a guilty or not guilty plea, whereby the defendant neither disputes nor admits to doing the crime. This type of plea, also known as nolo contendere, literally means ‘I do not wish to contend.’” (Wikipedia)
By doing so he does not admit guilt and none of the incriminating evidence against him is put forward in court. For instance, the 2000 Report which documents his physical abuse and includes photos from what I have been told. This also prevents evidence from coming out that could later be used against them in a civil lawsuit(s).
Is Pleading ‘No Contest’ Different from ‘Guilty’?
By pleading no contest, a defendant can avoid going to trial on the criminal charge. This can be advantageous if a trial’s outcome is uncertain or if a defendant doesn’t want facts in the case to be aired out in public.
Also, a no contest plea cannot be used as evidence against a defendant in a civil lawsuit for the same act. So if a defendant pleads no contest to a criminal assault, that plea can’t be used to prove her guilt in a civil lawsuit by the victim later on.
Pleading no contest also allows everyone to spin the outcome. His lawyer, the Chantry clan and ARBCA officials can say Tom had no choice but to plead no contest because he was damned by false accusations, discriminatory police work and a biased justice system with animus against alleged abusers. He didn’t have a fair chance. He was doomed. Or so the story goes.
Furthermore, if Chantry is sentenced and sent off to prison, I suspect they will continue to say what they have been saying since his arrest 15 months ago – he is suffering like Jesus – a man falsely accused and unjustly sentenced. I don’t see their story changing.
Chantry’s trial was originally set for March 27, 2017. His lawyer keeps getting it delayed. I don’t know why if his client is so clearly innocent. Anyway, there is an evidentiary hearing on November 8. We should find out more then.
Anthony Battaglia is paying a price for asking hard questions about Tom Chantry and ARBCA leaders. So are other men and women in the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches. These are the true heroes of the faith. They are the ones who have suffered for the cause of justice, not Tom Chantry.
I hope more and more church members in ARBCA study the evidence and challenge the official line that Chantry is innocent of physically and sexually abusing children.
Postscript – October 20 at 7:00 PM
Mr. Battaglia just contacted me and said “Great article! If you can update the article, I resigned as a deacon and terminated my membership as of October 15th.” I respect his decision though I am sure it was a hard one. I know other men and women in ARBCA who have done the same out of godly conviction even though it was costly.