Over the past three years, I have put more than a thousand hours of work into exposing sexual sadist Tom Chantry and the corrupt leaders in the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America (ARBCA) who knowingly covered up his crimes since 2000.
Starting with my first article in 2016, ARBCA leaders and pastors condemned me for being a slanderer even though my articles were based upon police reports, emails, transcripts, court documents, and the like. Their hostility and condemnation continued until May 2019 when Chantry was found guilty on four counts of sexual molestation and until July 2019 when additional evidence came out further documenting the insidious cover-up. These ARBCA leaders are the only slanderers in this story. They covered up the crimes of a sexual sadist and repeatedly argued for his innocence. Corrupt leaders always play the “slander card” to silence those who expose their evil.
It now appears ARBCA is on the verge of collapse. Jeff Massey is the Chairman of the 2019 Administrative Council. He is also the senior pastor at Redeemer Reformed Baptist Church in San Bernardino, CA. He has played a major role in the cover-up of Tom Chantry’s sexual sadism the last five years. He was on the Administrative Council in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and on the Membership Committee in 2015. He told his church the following on September 29 about “the controversies, accusations, and consequences of the actions of Tom Chantry.”
The discord is so great that many churches have recently left ARBCA, including Trinity RBC in La Mirada, and there is now a Special Digital General Assembly of the churches are remaining ARBCA members to see if ARBCA should dissolve completely. This Special Digital GA is schedule for October 14-16, 2019. … We agree that unless ARBCA is willing to publicly acknowledge these mistakes and errors in judgment, the leadership of Redeemer RBC recommend that we resign our membership in ARBCA. … The purpose of the Special Digital GA is to decide whether or not ARBCA should dissolve as an Association, due to the fact that there is no consensus on what actions can or should be taken to come to an agreement and resolution about this matter and how to move forward from here as an Association.
The “rats” are jumping ship including Chairman Massey and attempting to look righteous in the process. He says ARBCA must “publicly acknowledge mistakes and errors in judgement.” How pathetic! They must acknowledge criminality and a long term, widespread cover-up that involved Massey himself. That will never happen. They won’t even acknowledge mistakes and errors to the public. ARBCA is going under. Thank God! But that is not enough.
Many of the churches that are leaving (or recently left) are leaving with corrupt leaders who have been part of the cover-up. For example, Dale Smith and Al Huber at Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Rockford, IL. Huber is Chantry's father-in-law. He and Smith have been arguing Chantry's innocence for a long time and denied any role in the cover-up. Chantry relocated there in 2002 and continued to batter children. I hope members leave these churches and they shut down unless their pastors are removed and replaced with godly men. Moreover, Jim Renihan and the ARBCA seminary have acted corruptly. Read here.
Here is an overview of my work. The titles to these articles read like a journal.
Part 1: Sexual Sadist Tom Chantry Persecuted Like Jesus, Tested Like Job, & Betrayed Like Joseph According to ARBCA Leaders & Enablers Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at 6:58PM
Part 2: Walt Chantry, Miller Valley Elders, & ARBCA Officials Knew Tom Chantry Was a Child Abuser Even Before the 2000 Investigation Began Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 2:10PM
Part 3: A Critical Analysis of the Administrative Council’s Report Justifying the Decision to Withhold All Knowledge of the Police Investigation & Imminent Arrest of Thomas J. Chantry from ARBCA Pastors Sunday, November 18, 2018 at 12:04AM
Part 4: Exposing the Extensive Coverup of Tom Chantry’s Child Abuse by Top Officials in the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America (ARBCA) the Last 18 Years Monday, December 24, 2018 at 6:15PM
Part 5: Victim Impact Statements for Judge Astrowsky in Tom Chantry Case - “We Gave Our Children, Unknowingly, Over to a Pedophile” Monday, December 24, 2018 at 6:19PM
Part 6: Sociopathic Liar & Sadist, Tom Chantry Promised CCEF Counselor, Devon Berry, He’d Never Spank Another Child Again but “Battery” Continued Soon After as an Elementary School Teacher Tuesday, January 15, 2019 at 4:17PM
Part 7: Devon Berry’s Whitewashed Counselor’s Report Did Not Address Tom Chantry’s Sadistic Child Abuse Contrary to Agreed Upon Obligations Thursday, January 24, 2019 at 5:47PM
Part 8: The Illegal Cover-Up of Tom Chantry’s Crimes by Marcus “Mike” McKnight III (Prominent Lawyer), Tedd Tripp (Renowned Child Expert), Richard Jensen (Former Homicide Detective), & Bob Selph (the ARBCA Coordinator) Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 4:03PM
Part 9: Tom Chantry, Former ARBCA Pastor & Son of Walt Chantry, Found Guilty On All Four Counts of Sexual Molestation of a Child Sunday, May 12, 2019 at 12:23AM
Part 10: Victims React to Face-Saving Statement by the ARBCA General Assembly Admitting No Wrong Even After Conviction of “Pastor” Tom Chantry for Sexual Molestation & Their 18 Year Cover-Up Monday, May 13, 2019 at 12:10AM
Don Lindblad’s Recently Discovered Review of Informal Council Investigation for Chairman Earl Blackburn Proves Intentional Cover-Up of Tom Chantry’s Crimes by Marcus “Mike” McKnight, Tedd Tripp and Rich Jensen Friday, June 7, 2019 at 11:19AM
Newly Discovered Letter from Tom Chantry in 2000 Documents Widespread Knowledge in ARBCA of Accusations Against Him for Repeatedly Abusing Children & So Was Talk About Prosecuting Him Friday, June 7, 2019 at 12:02PM
New Evidence Shows Miller Valley Baptist Church Secretary Told ARBCA Investigators in 2000 that Tom Chantry Would “Take People’s Children & Hurt Them Without Cause & Enjoy Doing It.” Friday, June 7, 2019 at 12:25PM
Former Members of Providence Reformed Baptist Church Ask Probing Questions, Lay Out 16 Things ARBCA Must Confess, & Expose Pastor Tom Lyon for Covering Up Tom Chantry’s Crimes Friday, June 7, 2019 at 12:42PM
ARBCA Seminary President Jim Renihan Fraudulently Promotes Faculty of Impressive Professors That Never Taught in His School. Westminster Seminary California Removes Renihan As Visiting Professor. Friday, June 7, 2019 at 1:24PM
The first ARBCA pastor to address some of these issues in private was Chris Marley. He is the senior pastor of Miller Valley Baptist Church in Prescott, AZ. He pulled his church out of ARBCA in 2016 when the Administrative Council (AC) recommended Tom Chantry’s church for membership in ARBCA even though Marley made the AC aware he was under investigation for aggravated assault and sexual molestation. It cost him a lot of friends and ARBCA officials terribly maligned him for his stand and godly efforts.
The first pastor to call ARBCA to account in public was pastor Jonathan Cochran. His church pulled out of ARBCA on March 13, 2017. You can read the resignation letter here. He endured tremendous hardship as a result. Then on September 6, 2018, he published a letter to all “our Brothers and Sisters of the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America.” He should be esteemed for his courage and conviction. He did what no ARBCA pastor was willing to do. Stand alone for Christ. Here is his letter of reproof.
September 06, 2018
To our Brothers and Sisters of the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America,
Attached please find Portico Church’s letter of resignation from ARBCA dated March 13, 2017. I spoke at length with three of the California men who served on the membership committee (past and present), including its chairman [Steve Marquedant], concerning why the General Assembly was not provided with the information that they were in possession of concerning Tom Chantry prior to the 2016 GA’s vote to receive the Hales Corners, Wisconsin church, with Tom Chantry as its pastor, into the association. After receiving no acknowledgement of wrong doing, or procedural impropriety, I called all three men to repentance [Steve Marquedant, Jason Walter, Jeff Massey]. Hearing nothing more from them on the subject, our church submitted our letter of resignation on March 13, 2017. Our letter of resignation was written with great charity and with the hope that our call to repentance might be heard and acted upon. Were we to write it today, in light of all that has come out in court, our letter would sound very different [i.e., much stronger].
In May of 2017, I attended a meeting of our local Southern California Association of Reformed Baptist Churches. After the meeting I was invited into the host pastor’s office and was told that the ARBCA AC did not distribute our letter of resignation to the churches. The man [Steve Marquedant] also informed me that he believed that he had nothing to repent of. This further underscored our great concern that the membership committee, AC, and coordinator were undermining and hindering the General Assembly by censoring information meant for the churches, and by making decisions that were not theirs to make. Portico Church did not simply withdraw from the ARBCA AC; we withdrew from an association of local churches who had a right to know our reasons and to hear our concerns. And while it has often been said that ARBCA is an association of churches not elders, this statement is only half true. ARBCA is an association of churches represented by men who (presumably) meet the standards of full subscription to the London Baptist Confession of Faith, and the moral qualifications of Scripture. Christian prudence, sound judgment, and common sense, irrespective of man-made policies, should have led these men to conclude that a man [Tom Chantry] who had previously resigned from the pastorate under circumstances that required a formal “informal council,” and who was at the time of the 2016 GA under an active police investigation, may not actually be “above reproach,” and that it might be in the best interest of the association if the MC [Membership Committee] and AC had withheld the recommendation of CRBC, under its current circumstances, to the 2016 GA until more information was available.
Judge Astrowski, who presided over the recent trial of Tom Chantry, said, “If this were a trial of ARBCA, they’d be convicted” [of a conspiracy to cover up crimes]. Regretfully, we believe that this unsolicited statement validates our concerns regarding many of the leaders (past and present) of ARBCA. Additionally, the AC’s statement concerning Tom Chantry that was read to the 2017 GA [General Assembly] has not held up well when measured against the body of evidence presented during the first trial [July/August 2018]. In fact, it has been revealed to be full of omissions, half-truths, and outright misrepresentations.
Brethren, we use this letter to once again call all of those involved in the cover up, and those who misled the General Assembly of 2016 by not divulging what was known and what had been learned from the credible sources who had warned of the investigation of Tom Chantry by the Prescott Police Department, and those who wrote and approved the statement read concerning Tom Chantry at the 2017 General Assembly to ernest [earnest], sincere, godly repentance. Our great concern has been, and continues to be, for the reputation of Christ’s church, the good order and well-being of His saints in the local churches that you serve and are members of, and for the health and welfare of the souls of these men who, by their sins of omission, commission, and false witness, have wrought disorder in the association, disrepute upon the name “Reformed Baptist”, and dishonor to Christ’s Bride in the eyes of many of those who are watching.
Christians, in light of the evidence which was presented in court, and in consideration of God’s inerrant and unfailing word (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9), we ask you to prayerfully consider if these men have not disqualified themselves from the offices that they hold in Christ’s church. Our sincere, continual prayer is that the Spirit of God would break hearts hardened by years of sin and produce the godly sorrow that leads to genuine repentance. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Our hope is that these brothers will listen to you where they have been unable, or unwilling, to listen to us. May God be merciful to us all!
Yours most sincerely in Christ,
Pastor Jonathan Cochran
Four months ago, I wrote Tom Hicks of First Baptist Church of Clinton, LA a lengthy email. He is a prominent pastor in the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of American. Notice the subject line. Here is an excerpt.
I wanted to follow up since sending you my ten-part series on May 15, 2019. I trust you have read the document and are prepared to take corrective action. This is important since you have made a number of false and misleading statements to First Baptist Church Clinton in the past. …
Well, here are my final questions. When will you recant all your false and misleading statements to FBC? When will you reprove Fred [Malone] and remove him from ministry for his lying and deceit? When will you publicly commend Anthony [Battaglia] and Jon [Moyers]? When will you leave ARBCA as promised? When will you speak out against the corruption in ARBCA?
I really would like answers to these questions. Better yet, I would like action. I’d love to see you do what you have promised to do. That is my prayer. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
I never received answers to my five questions but last week Hicks and his church left ARBCA and spoke out against ARBCA. I’ve been sending my articles to his fellow pastor Fred Malone for three years. Hicks finally acted. Here is the church’s resignation letter and introduction to the letter. It is different from other resignations letter in that it cites substantial reasons for leaving and was made public on their website. Overall, it is an encouraging development. I’ve added comments marked off in brackets [ ].
September 27, 2019
First Baptist Church of Clinton, LA is no longer a member of ARBCA. We chose to remain in the association, even though our initial investigation in 2017 discovered wrongdoing (and possible crimes), for several reasons:
[Comment: Hicks’ starts off badly with a terrible piece of deception. I’m afraid he wants to look like a hero when he isn’t one. It is completely untrue their “initial investigation in 2017 discovered wrongdoing (and possible crimes).“ Not true. They took a completely neutral position despite all the evidence and never told Frist Baptist Church they “discovered…possible crimes.” And Hicks did not tell FBC they “discovered wrongdoing” by anyone. He told them just the opposite! That they found no wrongdoing by the Informal Council, the Administrative Council or ARBCA generally. I’ve included a transcript of their investigation at the end of this article. Here is what Hicks’ said about the conspiracy. “We believe that accusations of a conspiracy to coverup abuse by ARBCA are unfounded.” In fact, he said they did not find any evidence of sin and did expect they ever would. “If we find any evidence of sin, or crime in ARBCA that is in any way conclusive, we will act to confront it. But today, we have found no such thing. We have no reason to believe that we will ever find anything, but if we do, we will act.]
First, we believed that additional information might come to light that could make what happened in 2000 irrefutably clear. This, in fact, proved to be the case. A letter from Tedd Tripp to Earl Blackburn (mentioned later in the timeline) discovered in July of 2019 was the first definitive proof of a cover-up that we have found.
Second, we believed that remaining in ARBCA for the sake of obtaining justice for all wronged parties would be more faithful than resigning and failing to try to obtain justice. We sought to obtain justice as the timeline in our letter of resignation shows, but we failed.
[Comment: If Hicks believe this then he should have stayed another month. He should participate in the vote next week to dissolve ARBCA. Equally important, Hicks should have stayed to call specific men to repentance and go on the record that they do not qualify as ministers.]
Third, in all Baptist associations, justice takes time because of the periodic nature of the corporate gatherings. In ARBCA, the General Assemblies are the ultimate means by which justice can be sought, and they only meet once each year.
Please consider the documentation below.
September 27, 2019
To the churches of ARBCA:
This letter is to inform you that First Baptist Church of Clinton, LA voted unanimously to withdraw from the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America. Our missionary, Allen Beardmore, by his own decision, is also withdrawing from the association. We have benefited over the years from being in association with the brethren of ARBCA and are grateful to have worked alongside them for the cause of Christ’s mission. For the reasons listed below, however, we have chosen to leave ARBCA. We struggled over whether to list all of the following charges because we do not desire to give offense. But we chose to list our charges because we want to be as clear as possible about our reasons for leaving.
[Comment: “We do not desire to give offense.” This statement reveals a root problem in ARBCA. The unwillingness to offend for the sake of righteousness. It is a far cry from the example of our Lord Jesus Christ who said, “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.” (John 7:1-9) No one in ARBCA has been willing to testify against the evil deeds of Tom Chantry, Walt Chantry, Earl Blackburn, Donald Lindblad, Tom Lyon, Tedd Tripp and a score of other corrupt leaders who covered up his heinous crimes.]
1. In 2000 and beyond, ARBCA’s officials failed to protect the children abused by Tom Chantry and failed to aid them in obtaining the justice due to them (Ps 103:6). In 2019, ARBCA’s GA [General Assembly] failed to reach out to those abused by Tom Chantry, to acknowledge the wrongdoing of the ARBCA council, to ask forgiveness from the victims, and to seek to make amends in any way possible (2 Sam 21:3; Lk 19:8).
[Comment: Hicks should not use the word “failed.” In 2000, they intentionally chose not to protect and aid the children. In fact, they chose to do great harm to the children and their families by forsaking them! At the 2019 General Assembly the ARBCA delegates (i.e., pastors) refused to take any remedial action despite the overwhelming evidence of criminal guilt and ethical wrongdoing. The corruption and callousness in ARBCA is serous and systemic. Ichabod.]
2. Recently discovered documents in July of 2019 prove that ARBCA’s 2000 Informal Council knew of Tom Chantry’s child abuse and failed to report it to law enforcement (Rom 13:1). This failure to report to the authorities had the effect of exposing more children to danger and denying justice to Chantry’s victims (Ps 82:3-4; Is 1:17).
[Comment: The 2000 Informal Council of Tedd Tripp, Marcus “Mike” McKnight, and Rich Jensen didn’t fail to report! They knowingly conspired not to report contrary to the law. They also withheld incriminating evidence of Chantry’s crimes from the victims’ families. Hicks knows it. They would have been arrested if not for the expense and involved legal process to extradite them from PA and NY. Read World Renowned Tedd Tripp Should Be Arrested for Designing & Carrying Out a Criminal Conspiracy to Cover Up the Sadistic Abuse of Children by “Pastor” Tom Chantry.]
3. ARBCA’s 2000 Informal Council failed to recommend that Miller Valley Baptist Church discipline Tom Chantry, which is what the Scriptures require (Matt 18:15-20), and instead resorted to a biased and unbiblical program of restoration so that Chantry’s ministry could be preserved (1 Tim 5:20-21).
[Comment: Once again, Hicks is not being honest. The Informal Council talked the Miller Valley Baptist Church elders out of church discipline in exchange for the promise Chantry would never return to ministry, etc. Hicks know this is the case. It is evident in the MVBC minutes, etc.]
4. The formation of the 2000 ARBCA Informal Council by Walt Chantry, Bob Selph, and ARBCA’s 2000 Administrative Council was both unbiblical and contrary to ARBCA’s confession of faith, which does not permit “informal councils” (Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22-25; 2LCF 26.15).
5. The allowance of “sealed reports” facilitated the cover-up of a crime. Sealed reports from an ARBCA council are a violation of Scripture and ARBCA’s confession of faith, which requires that all advice given by church councils “be reported to all the churches” (Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22-25; 2LCF 26.15).
6. ARBCA’s 2016 Administrative Council wrongly recommended Christ Reformed Baptist Church of Hales Corners, WI, the church where Tom Chantry was a pastor, for membership in ARBCA (Jas 2:9). But the AC withheld crucial facts from the General Assembly. They wrongly led the General Assembly to vote in favor of CRBC’s membership without sufficient knowledge (Col 3:9), though they knew Tom Chantry was under investigation for child molestation and that Miller Valley Baptist Church of Prescott, AZ objected to CRBC’s membership (Prov 6:19).
[Comment: “The AC withheld crucial facts from the General Assembly.” That is an understatement. They knew he was under investigation. They also knew he was about to be arrested for aggravated assault and sexual molestation! Five of the men on the 2016 AC were on the 2000 AC. They have lied and deceived for 20 years. All these men should be removed from ministry for their deceit and that is not confined to this single issue.
2016 Administrative Council
1. Earl Blackburn (Chairman)
2. Rob Cosby (Treasurer)
3. Bob Curley
4. David Dykstra
5. John Giarrizzo
6. Al Huber
7. Michael Kelly
8. Steve Martin (Coordinator)
9. Jeff Massey (Vice Chairman)
10. Brandon Smith (Secretary)
11. Larry Vincent
2000 Administrative Council
1. Earl Blackburn (Chairman)
2. David Dykstra
3. John Giarrizzo
4. Tom Greene
5. Jamie Howell
6. Bruce Kronheim
7. Don Lindblad
8. Tom Lutz
9. Steve Martin
10. Mike McKnight
11. Bob Selph
12. Dale Smith
13. Larry Vincent]
7. ARBCA’s current failure to make an open and truthful statement denouncing these past wrongs has been a violation of the 9th commandment (Ex 20:16), bearing false witness to the churches of the Lord Jesus and to the watching world. None of the essential facts are in dispute. The problem is that ARBCA will not condemn ARBCA’s past violations of Scripture and its own confession of faith, which led to the victimization of children and others.
[Comment: This is Hicks’ best and strongest statement! The 2020 AC still will not condemn ARBCA’s past violations of Scripture and its own confession of faith. That tells you all you need to know about ARBCA today. The cover-up and corruption continue unabated.
Here is a list of the current AC. I may be missing a couple names. ARBCA has not been willing to publish a complete list.
2019 Administrative Council
1. Bob Adams (Treasurer)
2. Bob Curley
3. Jeff Massey (Chairman)
4. Jason Montgomery
5. Fred Pugh (Coordinator)
6. David Shiflet
7. Matt Vincent (Vice Chairman)
8. Jason Walter (Secretary)
I can’t tell you how many times ARBCA condemned me, Todd Wilhelm at Thou Art the Man and Anthony Battaglia at ARBCA Awareness for being false witnesses when we were the only ones telling the truth. The hypocrisy in ARBCA is exceeding great and deserving of the woes Christ pronounced in Matthew 23 upon such behavior.]
8. We believe the failure to tell the truth about the above matters, to condemn past wrongs, and to try to make things right with all wronged parties is schismatic, and breaks covenant with the churches of the association, which is our ground of withdrawal (Rom 16:17). We realize that some ARBCA churches agree with much of what we have said above, but have chosen to remain in the association to continue working to make things right. We also know that some sincere and faithful brothers disagree with us on some of the charges listed above. We recognize that not all sincere Christians see things the same way, and certainly none of us sees everything perfectly. But we have set forth, to the best of our ability, and in a manner consistent with our consciences the wrongs committed by our association that warrant our withdrawal.
[Comment: The opening sentence is excellent. I just wish Hicks’ would get rid of the word “failure.” ARBCA did not fail “to tell the truth”; they determined to lie and cover up the truth. Hicks says, “Some ARBCA churches…have chosen to remain in the association to continue working to make things right.” It will never happen because that involves scores of ARBCA officials acknowledging their corruption, stepping down from ministry, and seeking the forgiveness of the victims, their families, Miller Valley Baptist Church and even the Body of Christ.]
Sincerely in Christ,
The Elders of First Baptist Church of Clinton, LA
On behalf of the congregation
Timeline of Actions Taken by FBC
To Address ARBCA's Mishandling of the Tom Chantry Matter
August-September 2017 – First Baptist Church conducted an extensive investigation of ARBCA’s handling of the Tom Chantry matter, which found that in 2016, ARBCA’s Administrative Council (AC) wrongly recommended admission of Tom Chantry’s church to the association though it knew Chantry was under investigation for child molestation and that MVBC had a conflict with Chantry. Due to conflicting data, this early investigation by FBC was unable to determine conclusively whether ARBCA’s 2000 informal council had any knowledge of child abuse, though we now know that they did.
October 2017 – The elders corresponded in a series of letters with the Administrative Council and the Membership Committee, asking them to adopt policies that would prevent them from recommending a church whose pastor is under investigation for a crime. We also attempted to get the Administrative Council to agree to policies that would prevent them from withholding any information from the General Assembly, which might lead messengers to vote against accepting a church into membership. These efforts failed, but they resolved to press the matter further at the 2018 General Assembly.
May 2018 – At the General Assembly (GA) in Fargo, ND, Pastor Tom Hicks met with ARBCA’s Administrative Council and other leaders to object to the recommendation of Tom Chantry’s church in 2016. Tom Hicks urged that they should never recommend churches whose pastors are accused of any crime, and he asked that they commit to disclose all relevant correspondence about such matters with applicant churches to the whole GA, which is what ARBCA’s constitution requires (IV.C.2). The leaders at the GA in Fargo strongly reaffirmed their decision to recommend Tom Chantry’s church in 2016 and denied that any wrong had been done.
[Comment: Hicks met with the AC and other leaders. Here are the men on the AC (who with others) “denied that any wrong had been done.” All these men are corrupt. They knew Chantry was guilty and they knew there was a cover-up going back to 2000.
2017 Administrative Council
1. Earl Blackburn (Chairman)
2. Rob Cosby (Treasurer)
3. Jack Daniels
4. David Dykstra
5. Al Huber
6. Michael Kelly
7. Steve Martin (Coordinator)
8. Steve Marquedant
9. Jeff Massey (Vice Chairman)
10. Brandon Smith
11. Jason Walter (Secretary)]
June 2018 – Pastor Tom Hicks corresponded with and asked the Administrative Council to draft and implement a child abuse reporting policy, which would apply to all of ARBCA’s councils, committees, as well as to anyone acting on behalf of ARBCA in an official capacity. The AC agreed to make this recommendation to the 2019 GA, and they published this recommendation in Report 2 in October.
September 2018 – After the release of “Report 1” by ARBCA’s AC, the elders of FBC Clinton, LA were deeply concerned that the report justified ARBCA’s past actions and laid a great deal of blame at Pastor Chris Marley’s feet. The elders of FBC did not agree that Chris Marley was to blame, and did not accept the self-justifications presented in Report 1. Pastor Tom Hicks spoke on the phone with the Chairman of the Administrative Council about the need for an independent investigation, and he expressed his concern that “Report 1” wrongly blamed Chris Marley and failed to accept responsibility for any wrongdoing on the part of the association.
[Comment: The 2018-2019 Chairman was Brandon Smith. The 2019-2020 Chairman is Jeff Massey. They will never do an independent investigation just like C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc. for one simple reason. They are manifestly guilty! Nevertheless, at the upcoming digital General Assembly, a motion should be made and voted upon for an independent investigation. Let’s see who is willing to embrace integrity and make things right.
“The report justified ARBCA’s past actions.” Hicks should note the report did so by extremely deceitful means. It was authored by Steve Marquedant, Dale Crawford, Jeff Massey, and Bob Curley. I wrote about it in Part 3: A Critical Analysis of the Administrative Council’s Report Justifying the Decision to Withhold All Knowledge of the Police Investigation & Imminent Arrest of Thomas J. Chantry from ARBCA Pastors. It was full of deception.]
March 2019 – The elders of First Baptist Church of Clinton, LA posted a list of five concerns to all ARBCA pastors on ARBCA’s website, requesting discussion. That list stated, among other things, that ARBCA should reach out to Tom Chantry’s victims, and that anyone involved in the Tom Chantry matter should provide clear testimony of his involvement to the association. Because of questions raised on the internet, Fred Malone posted his own personal testimony of involvement in 2000 to all of ARBCA and refuted the public charge made against him. The elders of FBC then turned their list of concerns into a series of questions and submitted them to the GA planning committee, which were to be asked at the General Assembly in May.
[Comment: For years, I appealed directly to Tedd Tripp, Mike McKnight, Rich Jensen, Bob Selph and ARBCA leaders to reach out to the victims. Hicks is extremely late to the party!
Fred Malone knew about Tom Chantry’s crimes in 2000. This is Hicks at his worse. He continues to cover up for Malone who is on staff with him at First Baptist Church in Clinton, LA. Read Will Tom Ascol & Founders Ministries Sever Ties With ARBCA & Remove Fred Malone & Tom Hicks from Ministry Team for Covering Up Tom Chantry's Crimes. Read also all the evidence against Malone on Anthony Battaglia’s website and Facebook page. Hicks and Malone need to ask forgiveness from Anthony Battaglia, Candy Battaglia, Jon Moyers and Amanda Bray for their horrible treatment of them.]
May 2019 – Pastor Tom Hicks was the first messenger to speak to the Tom Chantry matter on the floor of the General Assembly in Cleveland, OH. He went to the microphone five times, asking questions, which he hoped would bring conviction, acknowledgment of wrongdoing, and determination to reach out to wronged parties, including Tom Chantry’s victims, to make things right. Sadly, Bob Curley, who was a member of the Administrative Council, rebuffed each of pastor Tom’s questions. The General Assembly refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing at any level by any of ARBCA’s officials, committees, or councils. The elders of FBC Clinton, LA were deeply disturbed by the lack of any acknowledgment of wrongdoing and the complete lack of desire to make things right with the victims.
[Comment: I applaud Hicks’ courage. Bob Curley is one of the reprehensible men in ARBCA. He is on a footing with Earl Blackburn. He helped write the crooked reports put out by the AC on September 5, 2018 and October 25, 2018. Hicks says, “The General Assembly refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing at any level by any of ARBCA’s officials, committees, or councils.” This is a condemnation of the pastors in ARBCA. Everyone should have voted in favor.]
Fred Malone motioned that letters of regret be sent to Miller Valley Baptist Church of Prescott, Grace Reformed Baptist Church of Rockford, and Christ Reformed Baptist Church of Hales Corners for the failure of the 2016 AC to recognize that MVBC’s protest was a difference or conflict between churches. This motion passed, and letters of regret were sent by the moderator.
[Comment: This was a worthless gesture.]
July 2019 – The elders of FBC Clinton, LA, along with four sister churches in ARBCA, sent a communication via email to the messengers of the General Assembly, asking to extend the General Assembly in an electronic session by email. The communication called for the association to discuss whether ARBCA should accept responsibility for its failures in 2000-2001 and beyond, to directly contact Tom Chantry’s victims to confess sins and to beg their forgiveness, and to make a public statement condemning the actions of ARBCA in 2000-2001.
[Comment: All commendable but it does not begin to address specific ARBCA leaders in the past or present. They are the ones who must contact the victims and their families and beg forgiveness. We don’t need a letter saying, “Dear victims…Please forgive ARBCA for being corrupt and harming you. We hope you’re well and serving Jesus. The AC.”]
Pastor Doug VanderMeulen of Community Baptist Church, Fargo, ND, motioned for the extension.
Pastor Tom Hicks seconded the motion and sent an email to the entire General Assembly with two previously unseen attachments: a 2002 letter from Earl Blackburn (chairman of the AC) and a reply from Tedd Tripp (a member of the informal council to MVBC in 2000). These letters included brand new information, which had not previously been known in the association or in public.
[Comment: Here are the letters. I wondered if they were given to Tom Hicks by Rich Jensen, the former FBI trained homicide detective, who was on the Informal Council with Tripp and McKnight. Jensen is the lead pastor at Reformed Baptist Church in Coram, NY. They left ARBCA on February 1, 2019. Letter from Earl Blackburn to the Informal Council (April 18, 2002). Letter from Tedd Tripp to Earl Blackburn (Aug. 26, 2002).]
After pastor Tom emailed these letters to the GA, they were subsequently released by an unknown party to the bloggers and became public. Had pastor Tom not released these documents, they would not be publicly available today.
[Comment: The letters were provided to me. I forwarded them to bloggers, Todd Wilhelm and Anthony Battaglia. They were read widely. Thank God. He was exposing them in his divine wisdom and sovereign power.]
Hicks had to send the letters to the ARBCA pastors to prove the criminal conspiracy in absolute terms. In the providence of God, I received them and made them public. Finally, the 20 year cover-up of Chantry’s criminal conduct was exposed for the members of ARBCA churches to see. These members were purposely deceived by all the top leaders in ARBCA over the past twenty years. ARBCA officials have also sought to deceive the Body of Christ at large. Now everyone knows the truth.
The world famous Tedd Tripp is so guilty! He did great harm to the victims and their families! Yet, he has done nothing to reach out to them.
This was my last communication with Tripp.
Hello Tedd. The evidence against you continues to mount. I hope you will quickly acknowledge you covered up Tom’s abuse of children (cf. “We have been so merciful and magnanimous in designing a solution.”) and forsook the victims. You should contact Deputy Attorney Eazer and work to resolve the matter is a just and honest manner. You must accept responsibility for your actions which were against the law and harmful to the victims and their families. I hope you will finally obey Scripture and clear your conscience.
He covered up crimes, he withheld evidence, he forsook the victims, and he disobeyed the law. And yet no one has held him accountable. Not his elders. Not his Board. Not ARBCA. Not his Reformed Baptist Network. Not national leaders. Not the Christian press. Tripp has confessed to nothing and he refuses to reach out to the victims. He remains Pastor Emeritus of Grace Fellowship Church in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.]
Pastor Tom had only come into possession of these letters just a few days prior to releasing them to the GA. Tedd Tripp’s letter was the first conclusive proof that a member of ARBCA’s 2000 Informal that Tom Chantry had committed the crime of child abuse. Tedd Tripp presciently said that he believed that Tom Chantry would go to prison for his actions, if he were tried in a court of law. This document provided the first definitive and irrefutable evidence of a cover-up.
[Comment: The letter from Tedd Tripp was extremely helpful but it was not “the first definitive and irrefutable evidence of a cover-up. Read the following articles.
Part 2: Walt Chantry, Miller Valley Elders, & ARBCA Officials Knew Tom Chantry Was a Child Abuser Even Before the 2000 Investigation Began Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 2:10PM
Part 8: The Illegal Cover-Up of Tom Chantry’s Crimes by Marcus “Mike” McKnight III (Prominent Lawyer), Tedd Tripp (Renowned Child Expert), Richard Jensen (Former Homicide Detective), & Bob Selph (the ARBCA Coordinator) Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 4:03PM
Approximately 20 people knew Chantry was guilty of child abuse in 2000 based upon the oral and written testimony of victims, their families, and the Miller Valley Baptist Church elders. The Informal Council and Administrative Council knew the law mandated these crimes be reported to law enforcement. Instead, they determined not to report. That is a conspiracy to cover up. There were also many other compelling evidences of a cover-up before the Tripp to Blackburn letter became known in July.
There is no excuse for pastors like Tom Hicks not concluding long ago there was a pervasive cover-up. I am glad for his stand now, but it is long overdue! I wrote about it three years ago. Read Did Reformed Baptist Leaders Cover Up Tom Chantry’s Alleged Sex Crimes & Serious Physical Injury of Children? (Dec. 10, 2016).]
After the release of the Blackburn, Tripp, and Jensen letters to the GA, and after much debate, the GA passed the motion to extend the electronic session to discuss ARBCA’s involvement in the Tom Chantry Matter.
[Comment: The General Assembly was held May 2019. The “session” (or official business) can be extended through electronic meetings or communication.]
The elders of FBC worked with other churches during the electronic session of the GA to attempt to pass a series of motions. Administrative Council member Bob Curley, however, preempted our motions by making a motion of his own, insisting that the GA has no authority to express any disapproval of any person or committee acting on behalf of ARBCA. Pastor Tom Hicks appealed to the moderator with a point of order, saying that the GA may not consider any motion that contradicts ARBCA’s constitution, which clearly allows for statements of disapproval. After an attempted amendment and discussion, Bob Curley's motion was ruled out of order by the moderator.
[Comment: Bob Curley should be removed from the Administrative Council and it should make a statement of disapproval to his Emmanuel Reformed Baptist Church in Georgetown, TX. They in turn should remove him as lead pastor on many counts including his deceit, arrogance and attempts to circumvent justice.
Take note the “ARBCA’s constitution…clearly allows for statements of disapproval” of individuals. To date, no official or pastor has been censured except for godly ones like Chris Marley and Jonathan Cochran. What hypocrisy!]
Pastor Doug VanderMeulen presented the following motions in collaboration with the elders of First Baptist Church of Clinton, LA (and others).
First, there was a motion to have an emergency GA to permit face to face discussion. The messengers of FBC, pastors Tom Hicks and Fred Malone, voted for this motion, but it failed.
Second, there was a motion stating that the GA condemns ARBCA’s past failures to address Chantry’s sins against the children of Miller Valley Baptist Church. The motion also acknowledged that great harm has resulted from ARBCA’s past failures. Many messengers insisted that the GA has no authority to condemn its own past failures since 2LCF 26.15 forbids “censures.” Pastor Tom argued before the GA that the prohibition against “censure” only forbids church discipline at the associational level. He further argued that the association must condemn its past wrongful actions. The messengers of FBC, pastors Tom Hicks and Fred Malone, voted for this motion, but it failed.
[Comment: 2LCF is the Second London Confession of Faith of 1689. It is their governing document.]
Third, there was a motion for direct communication with each of Chantry’s victims to acknowledge the gross failures of the association and to express sincere regret that these failures resulted in physical, spiritual, and emotional harm. The messengers of FBC, pastors Tom Hicks and Fred Malone, voted for this motion, but it failed.
[Comment: I’d like to know who voted for and who voted against it. Hicks should be specific about the vote count.]
After the association’s failure to pass these motions, pastor Tom Hicks reached out to Tom Chantry’s victims through Chris Marley in an effort to express sorrow for their ordeal, grief for ARBCA’s wrongful actions, and gratitude that Tom Chantry has been sentenced to prison.
[Comment: It is incomprehensible that the General Assembly did not unanimously pass all these motions. They are so callous and loveless. For those who do not know, the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America consider themselves the theological elites of the theological elites. And yet they are clanging cymbals. Full of dead bones. Whitewashed tombs. Blind guides. Consummate hypocrites. I am sure the victims appreciate Hicks’ efforts and sorrow for the 20 year “ordeal” they have lived.]
August 2019 – At the quarterly business meeting, Pastor Tom Hicks gave a full report of ARBCA’s 2019 General Assembly to the congregation at First Baptist Church of Clinton, LA. The elders recommended withdrawal from the association. The elders’ recommendation to withdraw from ARBCA required a change in the constitution and therefore could not be considered the same day the proposal was made. The elders, therefore, called a special business meeting to be held on September 15 to consider the question.
September 2019 – At a special called business meeting, FBC of Clinton, LA voted to withdraw from ARBCA.
Tom Hicks made a formal public statement to First Baptist Church in October 2017. It should be contrasted with the September 2019 statement above. The former statement vindicated ARBCA and contained innumerable errors. I’ve addressed only a few in the comments below. They are found in brackets [ ] with bold print for easy identification since the transcript is long. Hicks was completely duped at the time. He should have believed church members like Jon Moyers and Anthony Battaglia and bloggers like Todd Wilhelm and me. Instead he believed all the lying officials and pastors in ARBCA who were aggressively covering up Chantry’s horrendous crimes. Hicks’ remarks were recorded but not all of them could be made out when transcribed as indicated by ________.
First Baptist Church
Informal Meeting on Tom Chanty
October 15, 2017
Pastor Tom Hicks: Good afternoon. It’s good to see all of you here again this afternoon. I just want to begin by reading a passage of Scripture. This is Ephesians 4. This is where Paul begins to apply everything he has taught in the first three chapters and to explain how we are to think as Christians and how we are to live as Christians with one another.
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”
9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
This is the Word of our God. Let’s go to Him in prayer.
Prayer: Father, thank you for Christ and His bloody death, His blood poured out for the likes of us, for sinners who have no hope without Him. We thank you for Him, for His life and His death, for His Spirit who dwells in us, for His resurrection and the, the hope of eternity with Him. Lord, we pray that you would help us even now as we come for this time of information, Lord, that you would bless it, that you would give clarity and that you give understanding, Lord that all in all, Christ would be glorified, in Jesus holy name. Amen.
Mitch [Axsom] leading Hymn – How Sweet and Awful is the Place with Christ Within the Doors
Mitch: Please be seated
Tom: Good afternoon. Our elders called this meeting to provide information to the members of First Baptist Church concerning some questions and I have written a lot of what I want to say. In fact, I’m going to read this to you because as you’ll find out as I read it, there’s a lot of information. I’ve been studying this for a long time, it’s got lots of different avenues and ________, and I don’t want to make a mistake, and so I want to read this to you.
Um, what this is about is that there are accusations against Tom Chantry and ARBCA. Accusations of Tom Chantry and ARBCA have been brought to the elders by several members and we are reporting our findings to you today. We’re asking that you hold all questions until the end of the reading, but before we give the findings of our investigation, we want to explain the biblical rules of justice. And the reason we want to explain this is because these are the rules we sought to follow as we investigated this. These rules are important because our society often does not follow these rules, but the church must not follow the miscarriages of justice that take place in the court of public opinion. You must obey the Scriptures and so what are the rules of biblical justice?
(That’s a bat. (laughter) Hopefully that won’t be too distracting. Anybody know how to kill the bat? (more laughter)). I’m gonna go on and hopefully you can pay attention. I’m starting right now. So, what are the rules of biblical justice?
Well, first, there must be a violation of law. In order for a crime or sin to take place, a law must be broken. Romans 4:15 says, “Where there is no law, neither is there violation.” Romans 5:13 says “Sin is not credited where there is no law.” So, these violations of law may be against the Ten Commandments or any of the positive laws of the New Covenant, which the believers are under. Violations may also be against the law of the land, if those laws are not in conflict with God’s law. We must follow God’s law rather than civil law. So, if you hear a charge against someone, the first question you should ask is specifically, “Which of God’s laws have been violated,” or specifically, “Which of the laws of the land have been violated?”
Second, the Bible says there must be direct witnesses to the violation of law. This is how charges are established, through witnesses. Deuteronomy 19:15 says, “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses shall the charge be established.” And this applies to all sins. It applies to greater sins and lesser sins and there are no exceptions to this in the Bible. This same principle carries over into the New Testament. The Lord Jesus confirmed in Matthew 18:15-16, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and the Lord. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. This principle of two or three witnesses to establish charges is essential to the gospel because Jesus established the truthfulness of his own testimony on multiple witnesses and if we deny this principle, or refuse to abide by it, then we undermine the grounds on which Christ argued that He is the Messiah. We under - undermine the gospel itself. John 8:17-18- “Jesus said, ‘In your law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness above.’” The apostle Paul also reinserted the same principle in 2 Corinthians 13:1, “Every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.” Paul then reiterates that this is the principle that applies to elders, but with one exception, one difference. He says in 1 Timothy 5:19, “Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.” The difference is this: In other cases, charges have to be established on the evidence of two or three witnesses. But in the case of elders, Paul says not even to admit a charge against an elder unless you already have at least two witnesses. And this is because elders frequently have to stand against sin and sinners. They have to uphold sound doctrine. Because of that, elders can make many enemies if they actually stand for sound doctrine and against sin and error. Elders are called to put themselves in dangerous situations and to oppose people and their sin and error and it can make people furious with them, to the point that people make false accusations against elders. For example, the whole Corinthian church was accusing the apostle Paul of lying and injustice and that’s why Paul wrote the whole letter of 2 Corinthians. In Galatians Paul warned a whole family of churches about heresy and they were furious with him. Galatians 4:16, Paul said, “Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?” Telling the truth makes enemies. That’s a pastors job – to tell the truth and to live with the enemies that the truth makes. And so Paul says do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. This means that if you hear of a charge against an elder, you should not even admit or listen to it for church action, unless you hear it from two or three witnesses. These have to be witnesses of the violation itself. Now this is important. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t report a crime to the police if there’s just one witness. The rules for reporting to civil authorities are different than the biblical rules for reporting the church. So, if you know of a crime, and there’s only one witness, you should report it to the police. This is the biblical doctrine of the separation of church and state. 1 Timothy 5:19 is about what kind of charges we’re allowed to receive inside the church for church discipline and correction. And this includes charges we’re received against pastors and church associations as well. Now this is a very unpopular teaching in our day that is suspicious of all authority, and especially suspicious of pastoral authority. But this is the teaching of the Bible. The Bible says there has to be direct witnesses of violations of law.
[Comment: I disagree. Sometimes the “witnesses” involved are not “direct” witnesses as in the case of Matthew 18:16. The ESV Study Bible rightly states, “Evidence of two or three witnesses follow the guideline in Deut. 19:15 and refers to witnesses of the subsequent confrontation described in this verse, not necessarily eyewitnesses to the original offense (Matt. 18:15).]
The third principle of biblical justice is that the witness must not be a false witness. The bible describes false witnesses. There are several kinds of false witnesses. One is an uncorroborated testimony. It’s a false witness. The testimony of only one witness can never be valid by itself. Numbers 35:30 says “If anyone kills a person the murderer shall be put to death on the evidence of witnesses, but no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness.” So here we have a case of such a serious sin as murder. One witness doesn’t even suffice for that; there have to be two. So the first kind of false witness is uncorroborated testimony. The second is inconsistent testimonies are false witnesses. There were witnesses against Jesus, but their testimonies were inconsistent and therefore, they were false witnesses. Mark 14:55-59 says, “Now the chief priests and the whole counsel were seeking the testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but they found none, for many bore false witness against him but their testimony did not agree. And some stood up and bore false witness against him saying ‘We heard Him say I will destroy this temple that is made with hands and in three days I will build another not made with hands. Yet even about this, their testimony did not agree.” And so, inconsistent testimonies are false witnesses. Malicious testimonies are also false witnesses. This is a deliberately deceitful testimony. David was a king, a man of power, and he had enemies who rose up against him who witnessed falsely against him. Psalm 35:11 David says “Malicious witnesses arise up and they ask me of things I do not know.” The chief priests and the counsels sought false witnesses against Jesus because they hated him. Matthew 26:59 says “Now the chief priests and the whole counsel were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death.” And Genesis 29:12-14 we have a false witness of sexual abuse. “Potiphar’s wife caught Joseph by his garment saying lie with me, but he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house. And as soon as she saw that he left his garment in her hand and the fled out of the house, she called to the men of her household and said to them, ‘see, he has brought upon us a Hebrew of ________. He came in to lie with me and I cried out with a loud voice.’” And Potiphar wrongly believed his wife’s single witness against Joseph and Joseph was thrown into prison as a result of this false witness and miscarriage of justice. Hearsay, speculation and opinions to level charges are also false witnesses. Job’s three friends falsely accused Job of sin in Job 32:3, that says, “And God was angry with their speculations.” God was angry with their speculations. He burned with anger also at Job’s three friends because they had found no answer, although they had declared Job to be in the wrong. Those who speculate about who is in sin or who has committed a crime kindle the anger of God. Those who publicly declare others to be guilty of sin based on speculation and opinion without following through the complete pattern of justice are false witnesses. So we see there must be two or three valid witnesses to a violation of God’s law, or civil law for church action against sin, and the witnesses have to be true witnesses.
[Comment: All of this gives the impression the victims are not credible and the case is based upon hearsay, speculation and opinions. No. It was based upon “direct witnesses.” The victims! The crimes and the cover-up were evident in December 2016 when I wrote these articles.
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 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 4:12 PM
Scores of ARBCA officials and pastors defended Chantry’s innocence, adamantly denied a cover-up, and called the victims liars. They are the false, inconsistent and malicious witnesses. They didn’t believe the “direct witness” of the victims. They rejected their accounts of horrible abuse and sided with a sociopathic liar and sexual sadist.]
The fourth rule of biblical justice is that charges and witnesses have to be brought before a judicial body. The reason charges and witnesses must be brought before a judicial body is that not every witness is a true witness. The bible teaches that there is a difference between and allegation and proof. Allegations are not proof of guilt, denials are not proof of innocence. So witnesses must be examined in a court of law. Proverbs 18:17 says, “The one who states his case first seems right until the other comes and examines him.” And so there must be a judicial body qualified to pass judgment. In the civil sphere are state and federal courts of law that pass judgment over crimes. 1 Corinthians 6 says that Christians should seek to adjudicate civil matters within the church and not sue brothers and sisters of their church in civil courts. In the church, elders are a governing body. We are to make judgments on sin. Accusations must first pass through the elders. 1 Timothy 5:17-19 says that elders are called to rule, to examine witnesses and charges of sin. In Titus, Paul tells pastor Titus of those that must be silenced since they are besetting whole families and to rebuke them sharply. So biblical justice in the church is to be led by elders. But after the elders examine the case and they find that there is unrepentant sin and they come before the congregation to make a recommendation for discipline. And after hearing a recommendation from the elders, the congregation as a whole is to make final judgment on matters of sin in the church. Thus, biblically no one is to be declared guilty or as asserted as guilty without first going before a judicial body which takes into account the biblical rules of justice. So these are the rules we have sought to follow in our own investigations of the matter of Tom Chantry and ARBCA.
[Comment: The elders and deacons in Chantry’s church were defending him without addressing the evidence against him. They brought in crooked ARBCA officials and pastors (i.e., Don Lindblad, Steve Martin, Al Huber, Dale Smith) who insisted upon his innocence and would not answer the questions asked of them by church members. All these men knew he was a child abuser but lied to the church. Hicks doesn’t address the command to elders in 1 Timothy 5:21 to evaluate “without bias” or “partiality.” He violated that very command in this report. “So biblical justice in the church is to be led by elders.” That can’t happen when the elders are crooked!]
Now I’d like to explain our findings about Tom Chantry and ARBCA. Again, the elders are providing this information for our church members. That’s why we’re providing it, for you. Tom Chantry is a former ARBCA pastor, both of Miller Valley Baptist Church, in Prescott, Arizona, and of Christ Reformed Baptist Church of Hales Corner, Wisconsin. We wanted to call this informational meeting for several reasons:
[Comment: It was the demands of church members that provoked the investigation, not the initiative of the elders. That says a lot.]
We want you to know that it is good and right to ask questions about these things. There are questions like this we need to know the answers. None of our findings are secret. We don’t believe in a culture of secrecy in the church. We believe in communicating as clearly as we possibly can, not hiding anything that we know or have found.
Two weeks ago, we did ask the deacons not to speak of this presentation which we gave to them at the last deacon’s meeting. We asked for confidentiality only until today so that everyone could hear this report at one time together.
So, to start off, I’m going to give you the exact charges that have been made against Tom Chantry on July, 2016.
There are a total of eight charges against Chantry for a total of five children, who are now adults. There are five charges of molestation from two people. There are three charges of physical assault from three more individuals. Sadly, we now know that six children, who are now adults, have made allegations of abuse. Five of those have actually been filed with the police, five of those six actually filed charges with the police, and these are the charges that I already mentioned.
And this is also our hearts and our prayers go out, have been going out to anyone who has been hurt in any way. The Lord Jesus is tender toward children, and to the most vulnerable among us. He says ”Let the little children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” Scripture calls on Christians to defend the weak and the helpless. Psalm 82:3-4 say “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless. Maintain the right of the afflicted and destitute, rescue the weak and the needy, deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” And so if Tom Chantry is guilty of these terrible crimes, we pray, and have been praying that he receives the just penalty of the law. If he committed these crimes, he betrayed the trust of the congregation in his pastorate, he terribly abused his authority and he acted violently toward children, and this is an egregious sin. If he is guilty, he lied about what he did, and he deserves to be punished by law. Above all, let’s pray for any who have been victimized, any who have been hurt and pray the truth is completely exposed and justice is completely done. And this matter is now currently before the courts, for justice. At this point we do not know if Tom Chantry is guilty or innocent of the charges against him. The matter must be adjudicated in a court of law. All we have is one side of the story, we don’t know Chantry’s testimony at all. We have allegations only from one side. This is why we need to wait and see how the court rules.
[Comment: Hicks should point out a Grand Jury charged Tom Chantry on July 27, 2016 with the five counts of sexual molestation on two victims and three counts of aggravated assault on four victims because there was reasonable or probable cause. He was arrested the next day. The Grand Jury acted on the direct “witness” of five victims and their witness was recorded in official police reports available to the public. Given the testimony of these witnesses, Chantry should have been disciplined by his church and removed as an elder for his sins. Instead, ARBCA officials and pastors argued he was being persecuted like Jesus, tested like Job and betrayed like Joseph! Hicks doesn’t give much weight to the recorded testimony of the five victims in his comments. Read Part 1: Sexual Sadist Tom Chantry Persecuted Like Jesus, Tested Like Job, & Betrayed Like Joseph According to ARBCA Leaders & Enablers (Sept. 26, 2018).]
I also would like to explain that at first Fred and I had trouble knowing the exact number of children who made allegations against Tom Chantry. The police reports we had available to us at the time could only find two, maybe three who had filed charges of abuse and Fred said that publicly to you at that time. But since that time, we’ve heard from the lead investigator in Prescott, Arizona that there are six people who made allegations and five of them filed charges and so we wanted to correct this error and set the record straight publicly for you.
[Comment: Fred Malone lied to the church about the number of victims. It was not an error. The Daily Courier in Prescott, AZ broke the story on November 26, 2016. They republished it on December 5. I sent it to Fred Malone and all the lead pastors in ARBCA on December 12. The article was explicit about the number of victims. Everyone knew the exact number.
Former Prescott pastor charged with child molestation 3:12 PM MON, DEC. 05TH
Originally Published: November 26, 2016 6:02 a.m.
By Scott Orr
PRESCOTT – A minister in the Baptist church, who left the area 10 years ago, has been indicted on multiple counts accusing him of sexually molesting children in 1995, 1996, and 1998 to 2001 while he was pastor of a church in Prescott.
Thomas Jonathan Chantry, 46, faces five counts of molestation of a child, related to two minors, and three counts of aggravated assault on three separate minors as well. …
I based my articles on this newspaper account. They had the police reports. They were accessible. They did the math. There was no question about the number of victims. As a result, I wrote two articles and mailed both of them to all the lead pastors in ARBCA including Malone on December 12. Malone knew five victims had come forward. Not “two” or “maybe three.“ Read Tom Chantry, Well Known Reformed Baptist Pastor, Charged on Multiple Counts of Child Molestation & Aggravated Assault with Serious Injury (Dec. 6, 2016) and Did Reformed Baptist Leaders Cover Up Tom Chantry’s Alleged Sex Crimes & Serious Physical Injury of Children (Dec. 10, 2016)]
For the last couple of months, the other elders and I have been researching these matters and here’s what we found. We’ve read the publicly available police reports from the Prescott Police Department, which is 48 pages long and we’re going to make these reports available to you today for you to have. We’ve interviewed a number of people from ARBCA. We have also interviewed people who were a part of ARBCA who left ARBCA, who are no friends of ARBCA. So we didn’t just get one side of the story. We’ve also read all that we could find at the blogs on the internet, I have to say. So we think we’ve sufficiently investigated this so that we could come to you with our findings. But I need to give you a little bit of a historical background so you can understand the context.
[Comment: Hicks had the 48 pages of police reports due to the work of Anthony Battaglia. Anthony posted them on his blog two days before this meeting. He was a well-respected deacon at First Baptist Church. He resigned as deacon and terminated his membership with his wife Candy the day Hicks read this statement to FBC. They should be honored for their courage, sacrifice, and integrity.
It is very important to note who they interviewed because everyone one of them blatantly lied to Hicks. ”A number of people from ARBCA” and “People who were a part of ARBCA who left ARBCA.” They were also reading our blogs – Detwiler, Wilhelm, Battaglia. We were reporting the facts and the truth. ARBCA was maligning us day and night and ordering people not to read “those evil blogs.”]
Back in 2000, Tom Chantry and his church, Miller Valley Baptist Church, had a dispute that needed to be resolved. Miller Valley Baptist Church requested a council for assistance. A 3-man informal council was formed independently of ARBCA’s Administrative Council. This was an informal council. That means ARBCA’s Administrative Council had no formal authority over it. The Informal Council itself had no authority over Miller Valley Baptist Church, or over ARBCA. The Informal Council’s role was only to listen to what happened in the dispute and then make recommendations. That was it. And all of this is consistent with Baptist polity. It’s different from Roman Catholicism or Episcopalianism, or Presbyterianism or Methodism. Baptist associations do not have authority over churches. Associations can offer aid and support to a local church, but associations have no right to know about internal local church disputes, and they have no right to rule on internal local church disputes. The issue and dispute that concerns us inv
olves Tom Chantry spanking of the children of church members while he was tutoring them. Some of them with the parents’ permission. This informal council interviewed all the parties involved and then made a recommendation. The church pastors, the team and Tom Chantry all signed off on the recommendation and the matter was considered settled back in December, 2000. It was then reported to the ARBCA Churches -as settled to the ARBCA churches in January, 2001. The matter appeared to be closed. But then fifteen years later, the year 2015, some of the children who were spanked in 2000 came forward alleging that Tom Chantry didn’t just spank them but that he abused them. These charges, these allegations are very serious and they should be taken very seriously. And these are the same allegations and charges that I mentioned earlier.
As the pastors of First Baptist, we believe that there are three main questions that we need to answer:
[Comment: This paragraph is full of errors but I’ve addressed them elsewhere. Only a couple must be corrected here. First, the primary ”dispute that needed to be resolved” was the conflict between the elders and Tom Chantry. In a November 21, 2000 letter to Walt Chantry and copied to Bob Selph (the ARBCA Coordinator), the Miller Valley elders stated, “Legally, what Tom did would be considered child abuse and could be subject to prosecution.” This letter was widely circulated. Everyone involved knew Chantry had committed crimes. This was even before the Informal Council did their investigation a month later. Hicks makes no reference to this extremely important piece of evidence for the church. That is intentional.
Second, “The year 2015, some of the children who were spanked in 2000 came forward.” This is so deceptive. No! They came forward about severe beatings that terrified them, struck them to the ground, knocked the wind out of them, left welts and caused severe bruising. He doesn’t begin to describe the aggravated assaults with bodily harm to the church. Those assaults were fully known to the Informal Council and the Administrative Council in 2000. He was covering up.]
1. Did ARBCA coverup abuse back in 2000 when the Informal Council went to Tom Chantry’s church? We have not found proof that ARBCA covered up abuse and do not believe that they covered up abuse based on what we found. And we’ll explain why in a moment.
2. What did Fred Malone know in the year 2000, and subsequently? We have found that Fred Malone had no knowledge of abuse or of any allegations of abuse.
3. Was ARBCA wrong to admit Tom Chantry’s church into the association in April of 2016? In studying this, we do think it was unwise for ARBCA to admit Tom Chantry’s church into ARBCA in 2016, but we don’t think they had ill intent and we’ll explain why in a moment.
[Comment: This is rubbish. There was evidence of a cover-up, Malone having knowledge of the allegations of abuse, and ill intent by ARBCA at this time. All covered in previous articles.]
First, did ARBCA coverup abuse back in 2000? I want to state very clearly that we are not here to defend ARBCA. What’s important is the name of Christ and the good of the churches. And if ARBCA did any wrong, we will confront them, and, and deal with them. But we also want to make decisions based on the available evidence. Some have accused ARBCA of a conspiracy to cover up abuse back in 2000. And our own research in the interviews with people inside ARBCA, and outside ARBCA, we have found no testimony that neither the Administrative Council, which is the leading body of ARBCA, nor the churches of ARBCA had any knowledge of child abuse of any kind from the Informal Council’s investigation. We believe that accusations of a conspiracy to coverup abuse by ARBCA are unfounded based on the information we’ve collected from the original witnesses.
[Comment: Hicks should publish the list of “the original witnesses” “inside ARBCA, and outside ARBCA.” Every single one of them lied to him. That list includes but is not limited to Earl Blackburn, David Dykstra, Bob Selph, John Giarrizzo, Jamie Howell, Don Lindblad, Steve Martin, Dale Smith, Larry Vincent, Tom Lyon, Tedd Tripp, Marcus “Mike” McKnight, and Rich Jensen. Read Part 2: Walt Chantry, Miller Valley Elders, & ARBCA Officials Knew Tom Chantry Was a Child Abuser Even Before the 2000 Investigation Began (Oct. 13, 2018).]
And here are the results of our investigation:
The elders of First Baptist Church interviewed the original 3-man Informal Council that met in 2000. This was the Informal Council requested by Miller Valley Baptist Church, and was independent of ARBCA’s authority. This council consisted of a lawyer [Marcus “Mike” McKnight], a New York police officer [Rich Jensen], and a reputable Christian counselor [Tedd Tripp]. In our interview with these three men, they said they could not discuss the specific details of the case but they could discuss their procedures, and they told us plainly that they had no evidence of any form of child abuse before, during or after their proceedings. They seemed to have been examining the case to decide if whether Chantry’s behavior was a matter of sin only, which requires corrective church action, or whether they also observed abuse as defined by Arizona state law which requires reporting to the civil authorities. The law only requires individuals to report abuse as defined by state law and only if they had a reasonable belief of abuse as defined by state law. The council denies that they ever had any evidence of legally reportable abuse, but they did ask the parents to continue to question their children, and if they found anything further, they could report it to the police. Also, in our investigations, we found that others have alleged that this council did have knowledge of abuse, including one woman’s testimony in the police report. Also the lead investigator of the Prescott Police Department fifteen years later says that she believes that the council had no knowledge of any allegations of molestation, but she believes they could have reported physical abuse. So we have a contradiction in testimonies which needs to be examined in a court of law to get to the bottom of it. The elders therefore affirm that if anyone, at all, knew of any legally reported child abuse, including the pastors of Miller Valley, the parents of the children, the 3-man council, or anyone else, they should have reported it to the police, and they should be held accountable to the law of the land and to the justice of our holy God. But we have concluded, this is far as we can go to investigate the facts and to determine the facts, we now leave it in the hands of God, the consciences of the council members, the consciences of the parents, the children and the judgment of the court. The main point in question for us is this: whether ARBCA’s Administrative Council had knowledge of child abuse. The Administrative Council is ARBCA’s leading body. The 3-man Informal Council, which heard the testimonies of the parents and the children in 2000 was not a part of ARBCA’s leadership. This is an important point. The Informal Council was not part of ARBCA’s leadership, it wasn’t even a formal ARBCA council. Two of those three men who were part of that council, aren’t even a part of ARBCA anymore. They’ve left. Only one of the men still serves as a pastor in an ARBCA church, but he’s not involved in ARBCA leadership. So our question is only about what ARBCA’s leadership knew in 2000, and based on multiple testimonies from those within ARBCA and outside, we believe the Administrative Council, ARBCA’s leadership body had no knowledge of the Informal Councils findings. And here’s why: ARBCA’s leadership, the AC, was not given the report from the Informal Council. They were told that this was an internal church matter, that it was resolved and they had no need to know, is what they were told. Again, this is consistent with Baptist polity, where local churches are the final authority in local church matters. Baptist associations are completely unlike other denominations. ARBCA has no authority over the local church. The proceedings of the Informal Council were regarded as an internal church matter that were not business of the association. And so ARBCA’s leadership body was not given a full report or a report of any kind, only a letter stating that the matter had been resolved. Nevertheless, in 2014, ARBCA has adopted new policies which we will ________. ARBCA now requires that all councils give a final report not just to the church and the parties involved, but also to the chairman of the membership committee and the Administrative Council. We believe this is wise because if a council is to bear ARBCA’s name, then ARBCA’s leadership should have oversight, and may even be that ARBCA made these changes for that reason. ARBCA’s new policies now stipulate that 3 months after the councils dissolve, the membership committee is to conduct a formal review of the council including whether or not it followed the guidelines correctly. It is then to submit its report to the Administrative Council for final review and evaluation. These policies will ensure that ARBCA in the future has adequate oversight for any future councils that bear ARBCA’s name. Thus, in conclusion, the elders of First Baptist do not believe that there is any evidence that ARBCA covered up. However, if it comes out in Tom Chantry’s trial that ARBCA did in any way have knowledge of this and covered up, then your elders are committing to you that we will act to pursue justice and confront the sin in our ranks.
[Comment: “They [Tripp, McKnight, Jensen] told us plainly that they had no evidence of any form of child abuse before, during or after their proceedings. … The council denies that they ever had any evidence of legally reportable abuse.” These three men are the worse kind of liars! Hicks says, The main point in question for us is this: whether ARBCA’s Administrative Council had knowledge of child abuse.” He concludes, “We believe the Administrative Council, ARBCA’s leadership body had no knowledge of the Informal Councils findings. And here’s why: ARBCA’s leadership, the AC, was not given the report from the Informal Council.” But in fact, Don Lindblad gave the top secret reports to AC Chairman, Earl Blackburn and knowledge of Chantry’s crimes were widespread. Read these articles for overwhelming evidence.
Part 4: Exposing the Extensive Coverup of Tom Chantry’s Child Abuse by Top Officials in the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America (ARBCA) the Last 18 Years Monday, December 24, 2018 at 6:15PM Don Lindblad’s Recently Discovered Review of Informal Council Investigation for Chairman Earl Blackburn Proves Intentional Cover-Up of Tom Chantry’s Crimes by Marcus “Mike” McKnight, Tedd Tripp and Rich Jensen Friday, June 7, 2019 at 11:19AM Newly Discovered Letter from Tom Chantry in 2000 Documents Widespread Knowledge in ARBCA of Accusations Against Him for Repeatedly Abusing Children & So Was Talk About Prosecuting Him Friday, June 7, 2019 at 12:02PM New Evidence Shows Miller Valley Baptist Church Secretary Told ARBCA Investigators in 2000 that Tom Chantry Would “Take People’s Children & Hurt Them Without Cause & Enjoy Doing It.” Friday, June 7, 2019 at 12:25PM]
But, second, what did Fred Malone know, back in 2000? Now, we need to answer this question, because one of our church members [Jon Moyers] has charged Fred Malone with knowing about the original allegations of abuse and failing to report it to the police in 2000. The elders have met with this member more than once until he refused to meet with us again to hear our final conclusions. And here is why this member has made a charge against Fred. Fred called this member on a cell phone. The member began to have questions about what Fred knew. The phone was disconnected at one point, necessitating a call back. Fred tried to answer this man’s questions to the best of his ability but the cell phone was cutting in and out and it was hard for Fred to hear what this man was asking. There is no audio recording of this phone call. In this conversation, the member became convinced that Fred admitted to knowing of original allegations of abuse in 2000, and failing to report it. The member began to say that Fred had sinned and needs to confess his sin before the church, to the police, to the victims and so on. Fred says that this member did not understand what he was trying to say. So Fred wrote a detailed and thorough letter to the member explaining his role in 2000, and what he knew back in 2000. But this member does not accept Fred’s explanation of what he knew. The member continues to believe that Fred has committed a sin and a crime, and he is convinced that Fred is lying. This issue is one of the reasons it has taken us so long to communicate with you about these things. We’ve been trying to deal with this faithfully because there has been a strong charge against one of our pastors. 1 Timothy 5:19 says ‘do not receive a charge against an elder except on the evidence on two or three witnesses.’ Mitch and I asked this member whether he had a witness in his charge against Fred and he said that he did not. Therefore, in obedience to the Scriptures, the elders have not received this man’s charge. You the church, should not receive this charge either, based on 1 Timothy 5:19. Nevertheless, this member continues to claim his charge is true. So what was Fred’s role in 2000 and what did he know back in 2000? Brother Fred was not officially involved in any of the events back in 2000, but he did have a phone conversation with someone [Don Lindblad] who was involved as a witness for Tom Chantry who was in the council’s meetings with Tom Chantry. This witness sat in the meetings the council had with Tom Chantry but this witness was not in the meetings that the council had with the parents and the children. This person that Fred spoke to was not part of the informal council. The one concern that this witness had was that the council would ask Tom Chantry a question, but then they would truncate Chantry’s answer, not allowing him to say everything he wanted to say. Chantry’s witness was very troubled with this because he didn’t believe it was fair. So, Fred and this witness had a conversation about that. In that conversation, Fred and the witness discussed possible reasons the council may have truncated Tom Chantry’s answers to some of the questions, and in that conversation, Fred and this witness speculated about why the council may be behaving the way that they were. Why were they truncating Chantry’s answers? Why were they treating Tom Chantry like this? Fred asked this witness if there were any allegations of abuse. That could certainly be an explanation why they were truncating his answers. But the witness answered, that to his knowledge, there were no allegations of child abuse of any kind. Fred and this other man then speculated (between the two of them) that maybe Tom Chantry had spanked a child too hard or something like that, however, they had no knowledge of that speculation. It was a mere speculation with no knowledge of facts of abuse at all. That is both Fred and this man’s testimony to this day. Also, another individual who was involved at the time has said that because of the way the proceedings took place, Fred couldn’t have had knowledge of the process or the findings of the council. He said Fred couldn’t have known anything. I want to go on record here and say that I believe Fred Malone’s testimony, based on the evidence that we have found. We have two witnesses that have confirmed Fred’s testimony. Fred and the witness he spoke to have the same recollection of what they discussed. We have another witness from outside of ARBCA who was involved at the time, who said it wasn’t possible that Fred could have known anything about the councils findings, and so I believe Fred. But more than that, I want to appeal to your knowledge of Fred Malone’s character. I have never met a man with more integrity than Fred Malone. Some of you know, by experience, that he has been a champion of abused women and children throughout his ministry. He has reported abuse in the past, when he’s observed it. When I studied under Fred in my summer internships, he taught me about abuse. I would have never known about abuse, or even how to look for it, if it weren’t for Fred’s ministry to me. They never taught me about abuse in seminary. But because of Fred’s influence on me, I am sensitive to matters of abuse. I was even able to uncover several cases of abuse in Montgomery, because of Fred’s training. Fred has been a faithful pastor to you for almost 25 years and you know his life and his character and I would submit that this church is itself proof of his faithfulness and his integrity. For all these reasons, Mitch and I have concluded that Fred is telling the truth about what he knew. Fred’s own consistent testimony, two corroborating witnesses and his character.
[Comments: Hicks is covering up for his mentor, colleague and friend, Fred Malone. I put forward the evidence against Malone in his article. Will Tom Ascol & Founders Ministries Sever Ties With ARBCA & Remove Fred Malone & Tom Hicks from Ministry Team for Covering Up Tom Chantry's Crimes(June 7, 2019). Malone knew about Chantry’s abuse in 2000 and the cover-up that followed.]
Now, we come to the third question, and the third question is this: was ARBCA wrong to admit Tom Chantry’s church into ARBCA in 2016? In 2015, Tom Chantry was pastoring Christ Reformed Baptist Church in Hales Corner, Wisconsin, which was not an ARBCA church at the time. Chantry and his church applied for membership in ARBCA in 2015. At that time, another ARBCA pastor [Chris Marley], the current pastor of Miller Valley Baptist Church reached out to ARBCA’s Membership Committee and Administrative Council members, for them to deny Chantry’s request for membership. This pastor told them that police had begun to investigate Chantry for child molestation. This investigation was not public knowledge until July, 2016, when Chantry was arrested. The membership committee then asked Tom Chantry to withdraw his churches application for membership, but Chantry refused to withdraw his churches application and we believe that was unwise of Tom Chantry. But ARBCA’s Membership Committee and Administrative Council still decided to admit Tom Chantry’s church into the association, and here was their rationale. First, two witnesses in ARBCA’s leadership told us that the police didn’t want to publicly state (that’s key), publicly state that Tom Chantry was under investigation at the time. So the Membership Committee wasn’t allowed to publicly explain to the churches why they were rejecting Chantry's application. Therefore, they didn’t feel they could reject the application on just grounds. Second, the Membership Committee and the Administrative Council wanted to admit Tom Chantry’s church because they were not only admitting a pastor of a church. Here’s how they reasoned: They said if Tom Chantry is arrested, then ARBCA would be able to provide aid and assistance to the church and they have provided aid and assistance to the church since Chantry’s arrest. And after waiting seven to eight months, when they heard nothing further about the investigation, they admitted Tom Chantry’s church into ARBCA. Now Fred, Mitch and I disagree with this decision of the Administrative Council to recommend Christ Reformed Baptist Church to the General Assembly, but we don’t believe that the Administrative Council committed a moral wrong. We do believe it was unwise to recommend the admission of Tom Chantry’s church, knowing he was under investigation. We think they should have delayed the process and waited to see whether he was arrested [and about to be arrested]. The reason for our disagreement is that a pastor represents the church he leads and if we're not sure that the pastor is above reproach, it’s not wise to enter into association with him. Pastors have to be above reproach. Therefore, we have written a letter to the Membership Committee. We’re asking that they make it a matter of policy in the future not to admit churches who have any elders under police investigation. We believe this is a wise policy. It will show good faith to the churches and the Association that this will not happen again. But still, based on our conversations with those who made this decision, we believe they were trying to act wisely. Therefore, we don’t believe they had malicious intent, but we do think they made a mistake.
[Comment: There is so much wrong about this paragraph. Here are a couple examples. “This pastor told them that police had begun to investigate Chantry for child molestation.” Chris Marley also told them Chantry was about to be arrested. “But we don’t believe that the Administrative Council committed a moral wrong. We do believe it was unwise to recommend the admission of Tom Chantry’s church, knowing he was under investigation.” No “moral wrong.” Of course there was moral wrong – gross moral wrong. They were allowing an alleged sociopathic liar and sexual sadist into membership as the church’s lead pastor. The AC was not under a “gag order” as they falsely reported. They could have told the delegates at the 2016 General Assembly that Chantry was under investigation and about to be arrested and therefore denied application for membership in ARBCA. Instead, they hid this information from the delegates. It was pure deception. They were not “trying to act wisely.” Read Part 3: A Critical Analysis of the Administrative Council’s Report Justifying the Decision to Withhold All Knowledge of the Police Investigation & Imminent Arrest of Thomas J. Chantry from ARBCA Pastors (Nov. 18, 2018).]
Now to sum up what we found: First, ARBCA: Did ARBCA cover up abuse back in 2000, when the Investigative Committee went to Tom Chantry’s church? We have not found any evidence or proof that ARBCA covered up abuse, and everything we have found indicates that ARBCA did not coverup abuse.
[Comment: Crazy. There was all kinds of evidence by October 15, 2017 including the recorded testimony of Detective Jessica Barnard-Belling and the 14 police reports.]
Second: What did Fred Malone know back in 2000? We have found that there is no evidence that Fred Malone had any knowledge of abuse or allegations of abuse. He and another man [Don Lindblad] speculated about why the council was truncating Tom Chantry’s answers. They speculated that maybe Tom Chantry had spanked a child too hard or something like that.
[Comment: Totally nuts. Lindblad is a sociopathic liar like Tom Chantry. He repeatedly perjured himself in pre-trial depositions and at the July/August 2018 trial. The Judge admonished him to stop being “evasive.” He could have been arrested. Malone was a close friend with his father, Walt Chantry. Walt and Lindblad and many others would have confided in Malone about the allegations of abuse. Walt visited him after the Informal Council investigation. He was even one of the men considered to be on the Informal Council. Malone told Anthony Battaglia during a phone call he knew about the allegations of abuse and the investigation. You can read “Fred Malone’s Admission of Guilt” on July 28, 2017 at http://arbca.org/tom-chantry-child-abuse-case/fred-malones-admission-of-guilt/]
And third: Was the Administrative Council wrong to recommend the admission of Tom Chantry’s church into membership of ARBCA in 2016? In hindsight, we think it was unwise and we have written a letter to ask them to change their policies.
There’s one more question that needs to be answered and that is whether First Baptist should remain a member of ARBCA given what we know. In all of our interviews with those in ARBCA and even with those who are now outside of ARBCA, who left ARBCA, now opposed to ARBCA, we have found consistent testimonies. We have not found any reason to doubt their explanations of what happened. Therefore, the elders of First Baptist believe it would be inappropriate and hasty to pull the church out of ARBCA. If we find any evidence of any wrongdoing in the future, we will act to confront it and deal with it.
[Comment: ”We have found consistent testimonies. We have not found any reason to doubt their explanations of what happened.” Hicks now knows all these men lied to him. I really hope he “will act to confront it and deal with it.” There was a lot of evidence in October 2017. Regardless, I am glad he has followed through and pulled First Baptist Church of Clinton, LA out of ARBCA. I just wish the September 27, 2019 resignation letter was stronger and named names. And I must point out that Hicks is deceptive in the introduction to the church resignation letter. Here is what he said last week. It totally contradicts this report.
“First Baptist Church of Clinton, LA is no longer a member of ARBCA. We chose to remain in the association, even though our initial investigation in 2017 discovered wrongdoing (and possible crimes).”
If Tom Hicks, Fred Malone, and Mitch Axsom discovered wrongdoing and possible crimes in their 2017 investigation then they lied to the church in this report. Or else, they are lying today. And if they discovered “possible crimes” they should have been reported to law enforcement in 2017.]
Now, that having been said, First Baptist is a dually aligned church already. We are not just an ARBCA church, we are also a Southern Baptist Church. That means you are free to specify which association receives ten percent of your offering. You’ve always been free to do this. If you do not wish to give to ARBCA, you may contact Frank Walker and ask that ten percent of your check go to the Southern Baptist Convention. Or you can contact Frank and say you'd like ten percent of your check to go to Allen Beardmore or Ramone Perrone or another ARBCA missionary, which bypasses the ARBCA administration. There is Christian liberty here, to look at all these things and come to different conclusions. We don’t want to force your consciences about ARBCA. You are free to allocate ten percent of your offerings to whichever association or missionaries you please, but we also ask that you grant your fellow church members the same liberty. If you feel strongly that ARBCA is in the wrong, or the right, we would ask that you allow the other church members the liberty to come to a different conclusion from you and to give to whichever association they are comfortable giving to. The elders still designate their mission giving to ARBCA and have no hesitation about it. All of your pastors commit to you that we will be vigilant about this. We have your part and will continue to be vigilant and if we find any evidence of sin, or crime in ARBCA that is in any way conclusive, we will act to confront it. But today, we have found no such thing. We have no reason to believe that we will ever find anything, but if we do, we will act. All of this is so grievous to us. I would encourage everyone to pray for anyone who may have been hurt. Pray for ARBCA, for justice to be done, for anyone who’s been treated unjustly, and most of all that the Lord Jesus would be honored in all this.
[Comment: “If we find any evidence of sin, or crime in ARBCA that is in any way conclusive, we will act to confront it. But today, we have found no such thing. We have no reason to believe that we will ever find anything, but if we do, we will act.” This is a complete exoneration of ARBCA in 2017. Not even “any evidence of sin.” Oh yes there was – plenty of it.
Today, Hicks has totally changed his story. He says in the September 27, 2019 resignation letter, “First Baptist Church of Clinton, LA is no longer a member of ARBCA. We chose to remain in the association, even though our initial investigation in 2017 discovered wrongdoing (and possible crimes), for several reasons.” What a con job. The evidence of sin now includes his deceitful re-writing of history to look righteous in the sight of men.]
The elders also want to make a number of documents available to you today. I want to describe these to you so that you can have them if you wish to. We’re asking that you only take one per family, so, one of these items per family. The first document is the complete police reports [thanks to Anthony Battaglia], publicly known police reports from the Prescott Arizona Police Department. These contain testimonies to the police and allegations of abuse. Just remember that these testimonies have not been examined or cross-examined in a court of law, and that we have found contradictions within them. And if you want to know what these are, we will be happy to speak with you and show you. The second document is the public ARBCA statement which was made at the General Assembly in 2017. This is ARBCA’s public denial of a coverup and denial of other claims made on the internet. In our research, we have corroborated this public announcement as factual, which says that there was no coverup. It denies accusations against ARBCA publicly and on the internet. The third document we want to make available to you is an article written by Tim Challies about discerning blog culture, or watchbloggers. This article is a wise and a sober warning about how many, who claim to be for justice and for the truth, actually behave on the internet. In our own research of the blogs on the internet about these matters, we have found a lack of commitment to precision and care with the truth. We have also found a willingness to engage in gross speculation, coupled with an absolute certainty that their conclusions are right. And if any of you would like to see our critique of the internet blogs, we invite you to come and see this, and we’ll show you those critiques. But, we’re making Tim Challies’ article available to you this afternoon. The fourth thing we have for you is not a document, but a book. This is a book about how to talk to your children about body safety, and to help protect them from would-be abusers. Children need to know what parts of their bodies are off limits to others and that they have the right to tell anyone “no” if they’re uncomfortable. We’d like for every family to have one of these books, if you want it. The fifth thing we have for you is a rough draft of The Child Abuse Prevention Policy for First Baptist Church. It’s a rough draft because there’s something I still want to be thinking clear, and I figure one piece out, but it’s fairly complete already. But it says that if you observe abuse as defined by state law, you must report it directly to the authorities. The policy then, very carefully, defines abuse and cites the relevant Louisiana state laws. This is a document I began working on as soon as I got here. These events didn’t precipitate this. I wanted to have this child abuse policy, prevention policy for us from the beginning. This policy also contains procedures for screening and training of all church members and employees and volunteers, to help keep our children safe. It also contains procedures about what we’ll do after abuse is reported to authorities. One of the things we said is from now on, if we know of anyone who is accused of abuse and reported to the authorities, we will inform the congregation, so you can talk to your children about their interactions with that person. Now, we did have a case of this recently. Sid Hartins, who attended First Baptist for a while was accused and arrested for molesting his granddaughter. He did not attend thereafter, after his arrest. But we made a mistake by not telling you about this until after he was convicted. We want you to know that in the future we’re committed to letting you know immediately, after we know that someone is reported to the authorities, uh, for abuse, even if they no longer attend. And we ask that you please forgive us for this mistake. We're committed to doing better in the future. Finally, I would like to address how we can talk about these things among ourselves. The elders encourage you to freely talk about the known facts of the situation. This is not a secret. All these, many of these matters are matters of public record. This information report is for all the members, so talk freely among yourselves. But, in discussing among yourselves, remember this, that the rules of biblical justice still apply and that means you should not receive any slander against anyone, which includes accusations, for which you are not aware of two or three witnesses yourself. And you should take care not to slander anyone yourself. Remember Proverbs 18:17 says “The one who states his case first seems right until another comes and examines him.” Proverbs 17:4 says “An evildoer listens to wicked lips and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue.” Proverbs 16:27 says “A worthless man plots evil and his speech is like a scorching fire.” Proverbs 16:28 says “A dishonest man spreads strife and a whisperer separates close friends.” God forbid it to be so with us.
[Comment: “Just remember that these testimonies have not been examined or cross-examined in a court of law, and that we have found contradictions within them.” Hicks is discrediting the testimony of the victims in the 14 police reports comprising 48 pages. Reprehensible!
“In our own research of the blogs on the internet about these matters, we have found a lack of commitment to precision and care with the truth. We have also found a willingness to engage in gross speculation, coupled with an absolute certainty that their conclusions are right.” Our conclusions were all right. Hicks’ conclusions were all wrong. He engaged in “gross speculation” about the innocence of ARBCA. What I was reporting demonstrated a profound “commitment to precision and care for the truth.” All I’ve written has been vindicated. This in nothing but slander by Hicks. He is the false witness. The blogs were the only ones reporting the truth. They had to be damned by Hicks and ARBCA.]
I would now like to call for questions about this report. During this time for questions, I will also be trying to follow the rules of justice here. So, cause there’s so much information that if I don’t know the answer, I will say I don’t know the answer. I’ll do the best I can, but I may not be able to answer it. Every question, I may have to get back with you. Also, if a question arises that assumes something new, for which I’m not aware of two or three witnesses, I can’t entertain that question here. I will need to cut the questions off at a reasonable amount of time so we can let the childcare workers go, but if you want to talk further, I’ll be happy to set up an appointment with you personally, as will any of the elders. So, are there any questions?
[Comment: The person who recorded this meeting and made the transcript of Hicks’ remarks did not transcript all the questions and answers.]
K: Um, I’m just going to guess, and I don’t know this for sure, but usually in a case of sexual abuse with a child, there’s only going to be the witness of that child. (B – Amen). These people don’t do this in front of other people. They take them aside, and they abuse them. So, how, how do you deal with that? I’m not, I’m not saying that I think you’re wrong about anything you said at all, and I'm so thankful that you all are doing it. I'm just saying from that child's place, what do we do?
T: If you hear of a witness from a child they've been abused and you believe it, right? You hear this, you understand what they're saying, you might, if they said something uncertain, you might ask a few more questions, but it's clear they're giving some sort of confession of abuse. You call the police right then. The first thing, you don't need more than one witness. You get the authorities involved immediately. Then you come to the pastors, and what you may find is that there is corroborating evidence. There are witnesses there. So, there doesn't have to be two witnesses of abuse that takes place directly. There could be more than one kind of event, so the elders would certainly begin to investigate on any charge of abuse. But the police are actually more equipped to do it, and they need, we need to give it to them above all. So, does that answer your question?
K: Partly. I think I just mean the biblical rules of justice and how we as a congregation would address that. I mean I would go and report it, but I'm just saying, these, most of the time, they're not going to have another to the specific abuse, that specific instance, or series of instances. These people know not to do that in front of other people usually. I'm not saying ever, but, you know....
T: ________ immediately began after reporting to the police an internal investigation to find out. The police are also gonna look for more. They're gonna investigate more thoroughly and not, and not just gonna on, on a simple one testimony. They're gonna look at the whole picture. And so, that’s what we're gonna do as well, but only after it's reported to police.
J: T, I think, and K can correct me if I'm wrong. I think it was your definition of the witnesses having to be direct witnesses, when that's not going to be the case to murder, that's not going to be the case to child abuse. Is the witnesses in the Scripture specifically eyewitnesses, or can they be corroborating witnesses?
T: There can be corroborating types of evidence.
K: So did, so it can be different instances of similar type stuff?
T: Absolutely. That they’re consistent in final consistency.
T: Yes, B
B: You know, uh, points to absolute truth (?). The other thing is, uh, in the eyes of two or three witnesses, uh, I believe ________ in the case of Tom Chantry ________.
T: Can you speak up?
B: I’m doing my best, T. 1st Witness is the client/victim; 2nd Witness is the police officer. Now I don’t think any of y‘all have ever gotten an arrest warrant. I’ve gotten a good many in my time. You don’t just search someone out there without probable cause and you better have it right, cause you’re gonna face off in court. And when that policeman does all this investigation, he doesn't file for ________ because he’s got a guy who knows Tom Chantry something ________ but in this particular idea ________. Then he's got to take it before a judge, who has to review it and say if what this man is saying is true, will this fly in my court, because it's on his reputation too. There's three witnesses I can think of and my saying is Tom was arrested. He, I don't know anything about the case, haven't read the report or anything else, but hearing this, there’s evidence there.
T: Absolutely. There is evidence. These police reports contain a great deal of that. So, there is evidence. He was justly, he was credibly charged and justly arrested before the courts of justice.
B: I think sometimes, you, I’m not talking about ARBCA, but, if you arrested me, or I got arrested for child molestation, I would think you would want to protect the children in this church from me, until you know whether I was guilty or not.
T: Right. If there is (this is also in our child abuse prevention policy), if there is any accusation of abuse in our midst, that person is barred from the assembly.
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