Police, security show up at SNAP press conference

Yesterday, the Tennessee Chapter of SNAP (Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests) held a peaceful press conference in front of COGIC’s world headquarters in Memphis. The press conference was called in the wake of a controversial rape case involving a COGIC music minister and a 16 year girl at Greater St. Mark COGIC pastored by Ronald Rolfe.

But the few people that showed up were met with an overwhelming show of force at the bequest of COGIC officials.

David Brown, the chapter’s president and chief spokesman told me that four police squad cars with a police captain as well as COGIC’s internal security guards met them.

Brown said SNAP had done similar press conferences many times before and had never encountered  any police presence. The show of force he said was highly unusual but he was told by an official with Memphis police that they [the police] received a call and were asked to come out.

In addition to all the police and security, Brown said he observed what appeared to be COGIC officials standing on the other side of the street on headquarters property watching them.

The press conference was covered by two local media outlets.

I found it highly ironic and hypocritical that COGIC would so quickly call out the police and security against unarmed and peaceful press conference and yet do nothing against the many sexual criminals who have raped and pillaged innocent children and adults in its church.

This is more mounting evidence that the window dressing rhetoric of Bishop Blake proves he is only interested in “the name, image and assets” of the COGIC. Protecting members from predators is low –if any– priority in his administration.


9 thoughts on “Police, security show up at SNAP press conference

  1. It is the Policy of the Survivor’s Network of Those Abused By Priests (SNAP) to inform local law enforcement authorities when they (SNAP) will be holding some sort of an event. This is done just in case there are any problems with those who are the subject of that particular event. However,I have never been to a SNAP Event where Law Enforcement was not called by the entity in question, only to learn, to the dismay of that entity, that SNAP has a legal right to be there, as long as they do not trespass on private property and are peaceful. It falls under the First Amendment Rights of Every American: “Freedom of Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly and Petition”. And I am always amused to see how those who have denied children, young people and vulnerable adults the dignity of their basic human rights, suddenly turn to Law Enforcement for protection; and not because they felt physically threatened by SNAP Members, but rather because they felt threatened that the TRUTH of their actions, or in some cases inaction, was becoming public knowledge.

  2. Thanks for that clarification Victoria. Every American has the legal right to public assembly as long as they are on public property. SNAP had no intentions whatsoever to trespass on COGIC property, but like you said this wild overreaction is indicative of such organizations attempt to overcompensate for their shameful failures to protect women and children from inhouse predators.

    This was a public press conference, just like the one Bishop Blake gave on November 5th when he touted COGIC alleged zero tolerance policy on sexual abuse. No one called the police on him.

  3. Wow… Could it be that survivors who have been sexually used and abused by clergy and church employees, are beginning to get noticed?

    Could it be that Church officials are beginning to fear the truth about their crimes against kids will be exposed in the news?

    Could it be that these church officials are beginning to lose their almighty power over innocent kids and vulnerable adults?

    Two weeks ago, I also conducted a press conference in front of the Community of Christ Temple in Independence, Mo. Actually I was relieved that 4 tv news media and a newspaper reporter there with us, I felt safer! .. …and as always, we are very careful to make sure to hold our press conference on the public sidewalk.

    To my surprise, all the sudden 2 police motorcyclists pulled up across the street, and parked until our press event was over. Also 2 other police cruiser were driving around the blocks.

    We, (there were 5 of us, holding childhood photos) and the media were quite amused, wondering what they must have thought that we were going to do?

    It is sad, they this church also adamantly claims to have zero tolerance for sexually abusing kids, yet they have not yet called a press event to reach out to victims of the Mohlers or of Paul Cool… all who have just recently been arrested for heinous sexual abuse crimes against kids.

    The church officials are calling the cops on the wrong people. They needed to call the cops to report the child predators who work within their church !!!

    Judy Jones, of St Louis, SNAP Ohio Valley Director, 636-433-2511

  4. This is more mounting evidence that the window dressing rhetoric of Bishop Blake proves he is only interested in “the name, image and assets” of the COGIC. Protecting members from predators is low –if any– priority in his administration.

    Pastor Foster
    It’s not name, image or assets.

    An old, wise, influential Pastor long ago told me that Preacha’s generally don’t preach against their own sins. After several years of close observation I find this to be generally true.

    After all, all those Catholic Bishops, Cardinals, & Arch-Bishops all used to be Priest.

  5. Thanks for the update elder. I was wondering how this event turned out. So the current word is that they removed Wilson from the music ministry, but he’s still a part of the choir?

    How about this, remove him from everything and place him under pastoral care and restoration counciling for the next year??? I mean now he’ll be a sexual predator and be required to check in with local officials etc, and he’ll be best served by a strong system of accountability. I mean he looks like he’s not trying to leave the church which I commend him for, however he’s got to be made to realize how much damage has actually been done and do his best to repair and restore what he can with the assistance of leadership.

    Now, Danika’s parents have taken her away from the church all together and last I knew said they weren’t going to be a part of it any longer, but wouldn’t NOW have been a perfect time to have the Victim’s Advocacy Plan in place? A church representative could have begun the healing process and provided the necessary assistance to address this girl and her family. Now, from what I have read, she doesn’t even know the seriousness of her actions, but the parents and relatives do.

    Instead though, our church plays around with the issue and establishes a committee somewhere in the ethereal kingdom of make believe and where is ANYONE now…and yet they wonder WHY Elder Foster questions their leadership and motives?…Yet they wonder WHY YOU, the people that read this blog to the tune of thousands of individuals per day, continue to do so…and all we can get from Bishop Brandon Porter is that YOU, the reader, needs to stop reading this type of stuff because it’s only driven by hits and sensationalism???

    WHERE is the value for souls? If hits mean I care about the people of God, give me a million per day! How can these weak-kneed leaders (and yes I said it so fit it like Cinderella) even try to PRETEND that their actions are justified or justifiable in light of scripture? Dr. Foster they need to know that they will PAY ETERNALLY for their dereliction. They are not “occupying” like Jesus said to occupy. They are perpetrating a fraud, pretending that business is greater than God and that associations and money can buy the favor of God’s grace…

    Elder here’s the word to these uncaring critics, blind leaders of the blind, oppressors of souls and perververters of righteousness:

    Acts 8:20-23~“20-But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 21-Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. 22-Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. 23-For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and [in] the bond of iniquity.”

    I told you that last time I heard Dr. Range speak it was profound and that Donnie’s call to repentance wasn’t a usual call…There has been a direction of God that is in place and in effect. I believe that something that we couldn’t have imagined is on the horizon.

    I will set myself and watch!

    In HIS Service!

  6. These problems and protest will only get worst for COGIC if they kept ignoring them. I would love to see COGIC put in a strong clergy sex abuse policy that is truly zero tolerance and not some window dressing. If a clergy or any person serving in ministry is accused of any sexual misconduct they should immediately set down in COGIC until the matter is cleared up in a court of law.

    It’s a sad day in COGIC where this once grand church has failed so many victims of clergy sexual abuse in their organization. Pastor Burnett you’re right, where is the victim adovacy suport and restoration of these broken victims? Pastor Foster you’re doing a great work and please don’t come off the wall. I really wished I could have been there with SNAP because it takes courage to stand up these denominations that allow these types of sexual trangression. I can honestly say that COGIC failed me and my family, and there’s not a day that goes by when the affects of COGIC pastor clergy abuse doesn’t affect our lives. Thank God for an HMO that pays for counseling because COGIC hasn’t contribute a penny.

  7. vrr, thanks so much for sharing that. First and foremost our hearts, prayers and support is with and for the victims/survivors of clergy sexual abuse.
    I do admit I struggle to even call COGIC’s policy zero tolerance. There is zero evidence to show they have demonstrated adherence to it unless it came at some benefit to them financially.

    I was thinking about this Wilson case in contrast to the Sherman Allen case.

    After media flareup about Allen, Bishop Blake publicly “disciplined” Allen. This proved to be nothing but a cheap media shell game. If COGIC has no power to intervene in the discipline and life of the local church like they (Enoch Perry) now claim, why didnt Blake just let Allen be?
    The national church suspended Allen “from all national and local pastoral roles and activities”. How could they pronounce such a suspension on a local pastor before he has even been judged guilty? If this was applicable in the Allen case, why isnt it applicable in other cases?

    They wanted Allen to jump ship because they thought they could wash their hands of it like they have done in so many other cases (there’s a similar case in Kentucky). If their sexual abuse policy only applied only to headquarters employees, why was Allen even “suspended” in the first place? He wasnt a headquarters employee and Blake didnt have the authority to discipline him. If Perry’s deposition testimony is true, Allen should have remained in office, retained his credentials and not been restricted from “ministering” in COGIC churches.

    But the Wilson case proves this was just a sham and a lie. Why hasnt the national church spoke out against Rolfe, Wilson or their bishop Jerry Maynard pursuant to the so-called zero tolerance policy? The answer is simple: the Sherman Allen case and trial (now scheduled for Jan 25) is a monkey wrench.

    Now because of that lie Perry told under oath COGIC cannot intervene in cases like Wilson even if they wanted to.

    In the Wilson case they claim to be “investigating” but there’s been no action whatsoever. To use a cliched phrase Stevie Wonder could see this blatant hypocrisy.

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