VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A day after News 3 broke the story of a Virginia Beach pastor being arrested as part of a prostitution sting in Chesterfield, the community is reacting and searching for answers.
John Blanchard serves as the pastor of Rock Church in Virginia Beach. He and 16 other men from Virginia and Maryland were arrested in a two-day operation.
Records show Blanchard was arrested on Friday. He was seen in a video holding service on Sunday.
According to Chesterfield County Police Chief Colonel Jeffrey Katz, after interacting online, the men knocked on a motel room door expecting to be greeted by an underage girl with whom they had previously arranged a sexual encounter. Instead, they were greeted by a detective.
“The innocence of a young child, that’s something we take very seriously in Chesterfield. That’s why we run these operations that are geared people that are trying to have sex with underage children,” Major Mike Louth said.
News 3 attempted to reach Blanchard but was unsuccessful.
Staff at the church was not answering the phone on Tuesday, and a sign on the door said the office was closed for the day.
Major Mike Louth said at this time, they do not intend to interview church staff or members as part of the investigation.
Rock Church has a Wednesday evening service. At this time, there has been no notice of cancellation.