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.