Virginia Beach Pastor Arrested in Solicitation of Prostitution Charge
23:39 GMT 02.11.2021 (Updated: 23:40 GMT 02.11.2021)
A Virginia Beach pastor is among 17 men accused of solicitation of minors for prostitution after an online sting operation by law enforcement.
According to the Chesterfield County Police Special Victims Unit, John Blanchard, 51, along with the rest of the suspects involved were allegedly soliciting sex from minors through online and social media platforms, NBC affiliate WAVY reported.
According to police, the suspects arranged to meet the “minors” in-person, and when the suspects arrived at the predetermined locations, they were instead met by detectives.
The operation was conducted last week, but police released the details on Monday. The 17 men arrested range in age from 24 to 51 years old. Blanchard was arrested October 29 on charges of solicitation of prostitution from a minor age 16 or older and for using a vehicle to promote prostitution or unlawful sex.
He was later released on bond.
According to the Rock Church website, John Blanchard has been a senior pastor of the Virginia Beach church on Kempsville Road since 2013.
Video of Sunday's service showed Blanchard speaking at the beginning and end of the service, with one Facebook user by the name of Bee Davis commenting “This church is a highway to hell.”