CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – The apparent lack of evidence against Rock Creek pastor John Blanchard in a prostitution solicitation case is a lie, according to a Virginia Beach attorney who says his belief is validated by emails he received through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Virginia Beach pastor John Blanchard was arrested in a prostitution solicitation case during a 2021 undercover sting operation, and charges against the Rock Church pastor were set aside in October.
Last month, Chesterfield County Commonwealth’s Attorney Stacey Davenport announced the case is getting a new look because of new evidence.
According to attorney and Del. Tim Anderson, the new evidence is a video which, according to a Jan. 17 email from Chesterfield County Police Chief Capt. Jeffrey Katz to Davenport, “incontrovertibly validates our assertions that Blanchard knowingly sought to engage in sex with an underage girl in a Chesterfield County hotel room on the day of his arrest.”
Anderson submitted a FOIA request for all police memos and internal documents related to Blanchard, and received around 350 pages of documents.
Days after Katz sent the email to Davenport, she requested the special prosecutor.
Previously, she had cited a lack of evidence in the case, but Anderson said that’s a lie, and the documents he obtained prove it.
“There was never, never an indication of lack of evidence,” Anderson said. “This case was just fine. There is certainly defenses the defense could raise.”
Anderson said the documents contain a conversation between Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Alexander Michev and a detective. He said the detective asked if they needed to show up to a court date.
Michev said, “No need to be there.”
Soon after, the case was nolle prossed, basically putting a pause on the prosecution of the charges.
“That created a lot of internal outrage in the police department because, one, they weren’t expecting it and two, they had never been told that this was ever a possibility until the moment it was nolle prosed,” Anderson said.
In an email, Michev said, “The defense attorney has had some conversations with Stacey, Defendant did the equivalent of a psychosexual and has been in sex offender-related counseling. Based on all of that, it was nolle prossed this morning.”
When Davenport said there was no evidence, emails show Katz went back to his Special Victims Detectives about the investigation.
He said, “I want to again request that you ask your staff, if anyone has received any feedback from the CAs office on the evidentiary deficiencies in this case.”
A redacted email response explains to Katz:
“Alex Michev advised that the issue was that Blanchard had a built-in defense because he did not acknowledge the age … as to why the case wasn’t sufficient to move forward via the charges to ad misdemeanor… like several of the others proceeded.”
“The Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney said at the time that wasn’t good enough,” Anderson told 10 On Your Side. “It’s better to let him go through sex offender counseling. The detectives said in this email we agreed to disagree.”
Ultimately, Anderson wants Blanchard to be treated like everyone else.
“What you do is present the case to the grand jury. … That’s all that needs to happen here,” Anderson said. “The new special prosecutor needs to present it to a special grand jury. When the grand jury says yes or no, if they say yes, then you prosecute the case. They may offer them a deal.”