Former Baptist Pastor Thomas Chantry is a Free Man

My thanks to Cheryl Watson, a former ARBCA church member, for following the Thomas Chantry case very closely over the past several years and providing me with many Court documents. She has posted a good article concerning this most recent news at her blog, which can be viewed here.

Allow me to briefly bring you up to speed on the Thomas Chantry case.

On May 12, 2019 Thomas Chantry was found guilty on 4 counts of molestation of a child (Read this post for more details.)

On July 19, 2019 Thomas Chantry “received the maximum possible sentence of 24 years for each of the 4 counts of which he was found guilty. The sentences will be served concurrently, which means that he will serve 24 years. The sentences must be served in full, so he will serve the full 24 years (minus 404 days of pre-trial credit).” (Read Cheryl Watson’s post here for further details.)

On February 25, 2021 the Arizona Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of Thomas Chantry on four counts of molestation of a child and remanded the case for a new trial. (Read this post for more details.)

A third trial was to begin May 10, 2022 but on May 2, 2022 the Yavapai County Deputy Attorney, Susan Eazer, filed the following motion:

MOTION DISMISS WITHOUT PREJUDICE by Todd Wilhelm on Scribd

Attached to this motion was a statement written by the victim:

Based on the above motion Judge Krista M. Carman filed the Order Dismissing Case Without Prejudice. (See below.)

What does “Dismissed Without Prejudice” mean?

“When a judge dismisses pending criminal charges, the case is either dismissed with prejudice or dismissed without prejudice. The character of the dismissal makes a significant difference to both the defendant and the prosecutor.

Dismissal of a criminal case may occur before, during, or after trial. It may be the result of a motion to dismiss by the prosecutor or by the defendant, or due to a determination made by the court without a motion from either party.

Dismissed With Prejudice

In the dismissal context, the term prejudice refers to whether the court has made a final determination on the case. The prejudice relates to the prosecutor’s ability to pursue the charges in another subsequent proceeding.

A dismissal with prejudice means that the ruling is the final judgment in the case. The dismissal prohibits the prosecutor from refiling the charges. In a dismissal without prejudice, the prosecutor can refile the charges (or file new charges based on the same circumstances) at some future time.

A dismissal with prejudice is much more desirable for the defendant than dismissal without prejudice. When a criminal case is dismissed with prejudice, the prosecutor cannot file new charges or reopen the case. The dismissal permanently ends the case in the defendant’s favor. The prosecutor’s only option for continuing the case is to appeal the dismissal ruling to a higher court, which may happen if the prosecutor disagrees with the judge’s decision.

Reasons for Dismissal With Prejudice

If a criminal case is dismissed with prejudice, it often is because there was a fundamental violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights that cannot be corrected. For example, an arrest without probable cause, violation of the right to a speedy trial, or an illegal search can lead to a case being dismissed with prejudice.

Other errors in a case also may lead a court to dismiss a case with prejudice. Dismissal with prejudice also may occur for other reasons, such as a defendant who enters and successfully completes a local diversion program.

When dismissal with prejudice occurs, it likely is the result of the defendant’s motion to dismiss, or the court’s own decision to order the dismissal. A prosecutor rarely initiates a request for dismissal with prejudice.

Reasons for Dismissal Without Prejudice

A prosecutor may request a dismissal without prejudice, so they can refile charges in the future. Dismissal without prejudice is only temporary, so it is less favorable for the defendant. A court also may dismiss a case without prejudice on its own, when there is an issue in the case that needs to be addressed by the prosecutor.

A prosecutor may request dismissal without prejudice for many reasons. In some cases, the prosecutor wants additional time to pursue leads or gather new evidence. In other situations, the prosecutor may request dismissal without prejudice so they can pursue different charges against the defendant.

While a dismissal without prejudice allows the prosecutor to refile charges, there will be some cases in which no more charges are filed. For example, if the statute of limitations on the criminal charge expires or the investigators cannot find additional evidence to resolve the issue that led to dismissal, the prosecutor may not file new charges.”

So what is my take on this?

First, I totally sympathize with the victim in this case. I was at both trials and witnessed the victim testifying. It was gut-wrenching to watch. I have some understanding of how tough it was, but I don’t think we who have never been on the witness stand and had to re-live the experience of physical and sexual abuse can fully comprehend just how traumatic it is. I understand not wanting to testify for a third time.

Second, I think the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office made the right choice in not compelling the victim to testify a third time. This was a compassionate decision.

Third, I believe and stand with what the victim said in their statement above – “he (Thomas Chantry) is guilty of everything which I have accused him.”

Fourth, 23 of 24 jurors believed the victim and voted to convict Thomas Chantry of 4 counts of molestation.  The one juror who did not vote to convict in the first trial was convicted of perjury in the jury selection process.

Fifth, I support our legal system – even when I am disappointed by the rulings handed down. I am no expert in law, but, as much as it pains me to say it, if things in Chantry’s trial were contrary to the law, then it was proper that the verdict was set aside and he was granted a new trial.

Sixth, Thomas Chantry remains a convicted felon.

Seventh, ARBCA has been reduced from a high of about 85 churches to 13. Many members have left the churches that remain.  This is, in my opinion, a direct result of the corrupt men that were in leadership positions in ARBCA and worked to coverup the Chantry scandal.

Eighth – there is a God and He will not be mocked:
“Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” -Genesis 18:25 NIV.

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.” -Mark 9:42 NIV.

Ninth – God is compassionate, merciful, and gracious.
“Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” – Joel 2:13 NIV.

Tenth – Our world is a cruel and twisted place.


(Note from Editor – 5/7/2022)

The publication of this article has emboldened one of the few remaining supporters of Thomas Chantry to submit two anonymous comments. I will not be approving the comments but I did want to address the following statement he made in one of his comments:

“you are a filthy liar – more jurors than you say acquitted chantry”

If Thomas Chantry’s friend would like to forward evidence of his charge I would be happy to look at it. In the meantime I provide court documents to support my claim.

The last page of this document contains a letter from a juror in the first trial that supports my claim that 23 of 24 jurors believed Thomas Chantry sexually molested victim MJ.  The first trial had a hung jury on the 4 counts of sexual molestation. To convict the vote must be unanimous. This juror stated that “I believe we could have come to a guilty verdict on all the other charges were it not for one juror.”  The 4 counts were retried in a second trial and Thomas Chantry was found guilty on all 4 counts. By my math that makes 23 of 24 jurors believed Thomas Chantry sexually molested MJ.

Rogue Juror in Thomas Chan… by Todd Wilhelm


Comments

Former Baptist Pastor Thomas Chantry is a Free Man — 53 Comments

  1. Brent Detwiler: Excellent comments Todd.

    And if one may be so bold to add to Todd’s comments:

    #Eleven…a convicted felon is a convicted felon, in or out of jail. Even worse than the get-out-of-jail card signed by the DOJ, is the back-in-leadership certificate signed and paid for by “church” donors and groupies. Just sayin’.

    Complicit? Good luck with that, “church”folk driving the getaway car. Refer to Todd’s #Eight: There is a God Who is never mocked.

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  2. Dave Turner: As well as being a convicted felon, hopefully Chantry will have to register as a convicted sex offender which brings more restrictions to his life…

    Can a registered sex offender felon hold the donor-paid-for position of pastor? Youth leader? Seminary prof? Bible teacher? Church elder or deacon? Church broad member? Church president? Sunday School teacher? Music minister?

    Asking for a friend.

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  3. Dave Turner: hopefully Chantry will have to register as a convicted sex offender

    Chantry will not have to register as a sex offender. In the first court case he was found guilty of two counts of assaulting a minor. The second trial was a retrial on the 4 counts of molesting a child. Chantry won his appeal on those 4 counts, therefore in the eyes of the law he is not a sex offender.

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  4. Ken F (aka Tweed): Has been welcomed back to church with a hero’s welcome standing ovation yet?

    Chantry will not be getting a hero’s welcome back to his old church in Hales Corners, WI. After members realized the lies ARBCA leaders had been feeding them there was a mass exodus. The church building was sold and a handful of members continued meeting in homes, but I think that has fizzled out.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20220508015303/https://thouarttheman.org/2018/12/22/chantry-legacy-grows-former-arbca-church-in-hales-corners-wi-is-dissolved-building-sold/

    Chantry now resides in Rockford, IL. His father-in-law, Al Huber is the assistant pastor at a Baptist church that was a member of ARBCA. The senior pastor of the church (Grace Reformed Baptist Church), Dale Smith, was in attendance at some of the trial and told his members he would report truthfully on what he saw.

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  5. Muff Potter: So lemme get this straight.
    Chester the molester gets off scot-free?

    I wouldn’t say he got off scot-free. His life has been turned upside-down since he was first arrested in July 2016. I believe he has spent about 3.5 years behind bars total. He remains a convicted felon. He was declared indigent by the courts. Additionally, Baptist Pastor Al Huber, Chantry’s father-in-law, has funded Chantry’s defense since 2016. I have no idea how much he has spent on legal fees, but I would guess it’s been hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20220508070456/https://thouarttheman.org/2016/12/26/chantry-jailed-arbca-appears-covered-abuse/

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  6. Sad news but I have seen a cell in hell reserved for false Christians. There are not words for what Tom and his supporters are facing for eternity! That was the scariest thing I have ever seen and this life I now lead is like only a dream in comparison. I have never experienced anything more real than that place. Human justice is a broken gavel. Divine justice is not.

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  7. Mr. Jesperson: Human justice is a broken gavel. Divine justice is not.

    The Bible clearly wants humans to experience justice in their lifetimes—the only lifetimes any of us know. Just look at the pain and frustration right here, where we read about one setback after another. We might derive some satisfation that God will sort it out, but we have to keep trying right here, by sharing solid information and seeing that criminal cases go to court. Let’s not leave God to clean up all our messes.

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  8. Mr. Jesperson: Sad news but I have seen a cell in hell reserved for false Christians. There are not words for what Tom and his supporters are facing for eternity! That was the scariest thing I have ever seen and this life I now lead is like only a dream in comparison. I have never experienced anything more real than that place. Human justice is a broken gavel. Divine justice is not.

    If he is unrepentant, which appears to be the case, they are already printing his name tag in Hell.

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  9. Friend: Mr. Jesperson: Human justice is a broken gavel. Divine justice is not.

    The Bible clearly wants humans to experience justice in their lifetimes—the only lifetimes any of us know.

    Otherwise all we’re doing is sitting quietly with folded hands mouthing Pious Platitude after Pious Platitude.

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  10. Mr. Jesperson: Sad news but I have seen a cell in hell reserved for false Christians.

    Dude, you wrecked your credibility over a year ago with another God Hath Revealed Unto Me… Private Revelation. You remember – the one where God Revealed Unto You that anyone who doubts that God Sent COVID as His Punishment on the church was Not Saved?

    Now as for Visions of Hell, they are not only a dime a dozen (search YouTuve sometime), but EVERY SINGLE ONE IS DIFFERENT! NOTHING IN COMMON EXCEPT THAT ADOLF HITLER IS ALWAYS A STOP ON THE GUIDED TOUR! THAT’S IT! If there’s any Signal there, it’s lost amid all the Noise.

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  11. Friend,

    The complete lack of human based justice on this planet I find to be very, very frustrating personally. It would make me bang my head against the wall if the most real thing I had ever experienced was not the dark hole in the ground with only a angry, powerful demon for company. This is what helps me to keep my sanity and not want to see our ridiculous court system burned down. So do not discount that.

    “1 God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the “gods”: 2 “How long will you defend the unjust
    and show partiality to the wicked? 3 Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. 4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82

    Never mind my personal scoffers here who ridicule me in spite of the fact that I hate all of this abuse as much as any of you. Hell is a real place and my view is that most of the preachers on both the left and right do not believe in it. They both lack the real expression of the fear of God. The left believe they can change God and His Word into their own image. There is no respect at all in that. How do you feel when others do that kind of thing to you, claiming that you are something different then what you are? The right are hypocrites abusing people like there is no judgment or permanent eternal consequences for it. And I find that almost no one respects all of what the Word of God says. To believe is to be sober. I have to choose to find comfort that in 100 years all of the evil men will not be doing what they now are. The evil men of all of the prior generations are no longer abusing anyone, and never will again.

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  12. Mr. Jesperson on Sun May 08, 2022 at 09:41 PM said:
    ” Human justice is a broken gavel. Divine justice is not.”

    How do you figure?
    We are born with and have a divine image imprinted upon the best of what we do and come up with as humans.
    I am sick and tired of being told how rotten I am, and that the good things that percolate up from the best of me count for nothing.
    As you can see, I reject the doctrine of total depravity as complete horse-s**t.

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  13. Headless Unicorn Guy: ADOLF HITLER IS ALWAYS A STOP ON THE GUIDED TOUR

    He is also a stop on the guided tour of “I am almost as totally depraved as thou and enjoying every minute of it far more than you loser are” (such as cited by Muff at 12.08), “if there’s hope for Adolf there’s even hope for you-u-u-u-u . . .” like I (headline grabbingly) heard one time too many from a Spanish-trained chaplain of a “group”, who has since become a beach preacher somewhere, and all his cynical trolling machinating lookalikes (whether with links to [location] underworld, or to [location] “radicals”, or the Caribbean, or the Pacific).

    (Aside: When I see “see” I see it as imagining, maybe in outworking of intuition; I see a lot that way, but then that’s just me . . .)

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  14. “Dude, you wrecked your credibility over a year ago with another God Hath Revealed Unto Me… Private Revelation. You remember – the one where God Revealed Unto You that anyone who doubts that God Sent COVID as His Punishment on the church was Not Saved?”

    I had a dream about the perfect stack of pancakes once. It was a 5 stack, pat of butter perfectly square, the syrup cascading in quaternary river over each individual cake edge.

    On the one hand, a desire to consume, or simply gaze on paradise…

    I think God made those pancakes….

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  15. “We are born with and have a divine image imprinted upon the best of what we do and come up with as humans.
    I am sick and tired of being told how rotten I am, and that the good things that percolate up from the best of me count for nothing.”

    You are not a number! You are a free man!

    I firmly believe that if there is God working in this world, it is through the hands of good people.

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  16. “Direct Private Revelation, of course.”

    There’s a smiting goin’ on right here,
    a Revelation to last throughout the year!
    So bring your brimstone and your fire too!
    There’s a revelation and it’s comin’ for you!
    Re-vel-a-tion time! C’mon! It’s a Revelation!

    Apologies to Kool and the Gang

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  17. Mr. Jesperson,

    This the same as what the bulk of the Old testament, and the New testament, say. I got shaken to the core when I read my Bible.

    In a parable, a devil that got cast out and found the house still empty moved back in with seven worse pals. Pharisaical types diligently replicated themselves seven times over, but worse.

    We don’t know who are the ones whose fate may sadly turn out to be specific but we do know how to deal with people mean time for safety, so as to not become complicit in what they are up to.

    (Aside: I haven’t time for “controversies” about gifts – only the gifts themselves – but then that’s just me.)

    I was trying to explain to an assistant minister in my neighbourhood why I don’t yet detail (by brand names) my past church attendance credentials – lest they tell me I was stupid to have gone to an assembly their bible school had told them “all about” – and he responded with the sinner trope, when I was trying to focus on the obvious warning angle of actual testimony. The other minister, however, said with a twinkle, that he has been to many denominations / movements as well; I like the second minister.

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  18. Michael in UK: (Aside: When I see “see” I see it as imagining, maybe in outworking of intuition; I see a lot that way, but then that’s just me . . .)

    Well, the closest thing I ever had to a Vision(TM) – “Thirty Seconds Over Narnia” – had the form of an incredibly-vivid mental image coming out of nowhere and lasting less than a minute.

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  19. I have to be honest here. The thing that bothers me the worst about abusive “Christian” leaders is the unbridled arrogance and rudeness. In the comments over the years I have noticed that this really gets to all of the regulars here, rather or not you claim to be a Christian. Yet I have seen that anyone of any faith, including athiests can act in these same ways. I am not impressed by anyone who is just arrogant and rude calling others liars without just cause.

    Being a jerk yourself while getting angry that one particular other group of people are also jerks is just hypocrisy the last time I looked at the definition in a dictionary. And one of the things I like least about this blog is that some of this is tolerated directed at one group of people while being edited out of the stream directed at a different set of people. So please forgive me for noticing. Sometimes some of the people here are just really rude at people who actually agree with them. Makes me think of more scriptures that you probably do not want to hear…

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  20. I have been hesitant to reply because I am so upset over the release of Chantry. I believe he is guilty yet he got off because of a procedural matter. The lead witness could not bear to testify again which demonstrates the problems of the courts and child sexual and physical abuse. One day, Chantry will meet his Maker.

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  21. dee: One day, Chantry will meet his Maker.

    “In ‘that day’ many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we preach in your name, didn’t we cast out devils in your name, and do many great things in your name?’ Then I shall tell them plainly, ‘I have never known you. Go away from me, you have worked on the side of evil!’” (Matthew 7:22-23)

    Not all preachers go to Heaven.

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  22. Jack: anyone who doubts that God Sent COVID as His Punishment on the church was Not Saved

    The Welsh have a tradition of singing heartily about the Flatbread of heaven.

    Elijah ate twice, and slept twice. That’s a hero. I don’t like how some people belittle Elijah, and Believing Thomas (the Apostle).

    “Saved” is a future and not current state; I cannot trace (in practical terms) where the statement cited may have occurred. Because ill conceived slogans were imprinted on us, it’s needful at any rate to not read them into any phrasing that is in fact saying differently.

    Punishment will be punishment and warning is warning. What did Max say at 10.34 and Dee at 9.28?

    Jesus’ parables all point to Him judging (in whatever way) individuals in churches earlier than those outsiders who are not really “in the know”.

    Charisms of different believers over the centuries in whatever style – discursive or otherwise – have often reiterated this, and many truths, to help us continue to remember.

    Any lesson, in serendipitous vicissitudes, should be an occasion for believers to look for God’s help for the world. My parents went through very tough things and tried to be suspicious of bulls**t. Ordinary people in work are now talking of not eating.

    I think there are showmen out to mislead and discredit. Many of us aren’t any of those things; or if we had begun to copy it, we have turned round again.

    By inference, the fake suggests the real, and there are times we need the real, in one style or another. You & I will be asked, did we help our fellow grow by potentising his gift (trading the talents with each other)? Like bringing the inconsiderable boy of the loaf and the fish forward (his chance of exercise): “what is this among so many” an expression not of scoffing but of wonder at Jesus. And especially, praying for each other.

    The worship of God is to not stunt the growth of fellow adopted orphans and widows in Father’s firm (Prov 21: 10-31). The praise of God is to show Him we know that He is the one to go shopping from without price (Is. 55, 58, 61).

    I believe in shopping list prayer and cafeteria Christianity: eat everything on the menu, but not all at once: Keep Coming Back. (Use margin / centre channel references when reading Scriptures.) Providentially as we persevere, we shall be glad of the gifts. The gifts work, when they feed the prayer. I consider myself warned, this morning.

    Did anyone besides me notice that Oral Roberts / Bill Johnson, and Johnny Macarthur, are forming a coordinated pincer movement? Jesus always dodged being trapped into being head on with anybody (false dichotomy). He was also quick to point out who was close to the Kingdom. The Kingdom = trading in the talents. Through Another Comforter Who was sent at Ascension, the Kingdom can begin to be internalised, as the agnostic Alfred Whitehead suspected it must. Christ’s kingdom of talents is not worldly or fleshly like the showmens’.

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  23. “I have been hesitant to reply because I am so upset over the release of Chantry. I believe he is guilty yet he got off because of a procedural matter. The lead witness could not bear to testify again which demonstrates the problems of the courts and child sexual and physical abuse. One day, Chantry will meet his Maker.”

    Did he really get away with it? The victim bravely came forward. Now everyone knows. Thanks to Todd’s explanation regarding what “without prejudice” means, this clown will spend the rest of his time looking over his shoulder, wondering if the knock on the door will be a squad car waiting to take him downtown. He’s been outed as the devil that he is. With luck the only place he’ll be able to live is in his father in law’s basement. If you want to get all biblical about it then he’s got the mark of Cain on him.

    Is this a just outcome? no. But Chantry didn’t “get away with it”

    He has to go out in public with everyone knowing exactly what he is. Narcissists’ have a self image and that’s punishment of its own.

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  24. Jack: With luck the only place he’ll be able to live is in his father in law’s basement.

    Yeah, it will be tough to sell even the church that Chantry deserves an unrepentant comeback. I doubt that he will go through the usual 6-12 month restoration period somewhere and reappear on stage to a standing ovation, like so many other fallen “pastors.” The American pew is gullible, but not that much.

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  25. Jack on Mon May 09, 2022 at 02:02 PM said:

    “…On the one hand, a desire to consume, or simply gaze on paradise…

    I think God made those pancakes….”
    +++++++++++

    ha!

    jumping on this tangent thread flying in the breeze…

    weird things happen to me all the time – coincidences. 99% of the time they are without any significance at all — just things lining up.

    like the time the word “fig newtons” was running through my mind. over and over again, “fig newtons”. what could it mean?!?

    after about 45 seconds of this, a Mother’s Cookies “Fig Newtons!” truck (writ large) passed right in front of me.

    as i see it, things of spiritual or ‘other’ nature just happen, most of the time with as much meaning as

    “to eat the pancakes or not eat the pancakes: that is the question.”

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