Questions that Need Answering in Regards to the Rick Trotter Situation; Plus I Need Sources who are Knowledgeable about Richard Rieves Downtown Church and Sandy Willson’s Memphis Second Presbyterian

These are a list of questions that I had in another post that I wanted to make as a stand alone post. I am hoping people in the know with the knowledge will step forward and help these get answered. Also this is a call for information for any former members or people who can speak to Richard Rieves Downtown Church and Sandy Willson’s Memphis Second Presbyterian Church. Please email me if you have knowledge about both churches.

“The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.”

Thomas Berger

“We get wise by asking questions, and even if these are not answered we get wise, for a well-packed question carries its answer on its back in the same way a snail carries its shell.”

James Stephens

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:7 NLT

I had these questions listed in a previous post called “An Email Exchange with Bryan Loritts in March of 2013 Helps Shine Light on the Alleged Cover Up of Rick Trotter’s Voyeurism in Fellowship Memphis.” These questions are very important and get to the heart of the matter. In doing such analysis the key is not to have all the information but to know which questions to ask.

  1. Did John Bryson and Bryan Loritts allegedly  destroy evidence of alleged child pornography, either directly or by order?
  2. Was Rick Trotter allegedly videotaping kids in situations of baby sitting, sports activities or other situations?
  3. What role did Rick’s wife Heather play? Did she know about Rick’s alleged sexual problems and did she enable them? Did she ever discover footage and not go to the police when she should have?
  4. Did Bryan Loritts or John Bryson use Fellowship Memberships’ church covenant to help keep the women who were allegedly filmed in the restroom silent?
  5. Did Bryan Loritts or John Bryson allegedly threaten to use church discipline on the women who were allegedly videotaped?
  6. Did John Bryson or Bryan Loritts allegedly threaten members with church discipline?
  7. Were there other alleged sexual predators, or sexual offenders on staff or working at Fellowship Memphis or Downtown Church?
  8. Did Rick Trotter have other people who enabled his activities? Given what I am hearing on the behavior I keep asking myself did other people on staff or ministry choose to ignore the red flags and deep concerns?
  9. John Bryson was on the Board of Acts 29 along with people like Darrin Patrick. Did the Board of Acts 29 or Matt Chandler know about these allegations of criminal activity being covered up?
  10. What revenue streams or income is coming in that validates these ministries? I learned in the story of Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson, Pennsylvania that churches can have a key player or family that has deep roots that can hold sway over the congregation. Who is that for Fellowship Memphis and Downtown Presbyterian?
  11. Where did Rick Trotter go for counseling? Who was his counselor? What was his 90 day program? Was it something that was highly questionable like David Powlison’s Christian Counseling & Education Foundation?
  12. What was Rick Trotter’s accountability at Downtown Church? Was it people asking questions or a filter? What was it?
  13. Were there underage females allegedly recorded at Downtown Church? What are the bathrooms like at Downtown Church? Are they co-ed? Are they used by both adults and minors? Can someone speak to the restrooms at Downtown Church?
  14. What are the connections between Richard Rieves and John Bryson and Bryan Loritts?
  15. What role did Crawford Loritts allegedly play in all this? Did Crawford enable his son-in-law?
  16. Are there alleged connections between Memphis Police and Fellowship Memphis or Downtown Church which can affect or influence an objective investigation?
  17. If the total number of alleged victims at Fellowship Memphis is 100 what is the grand total of alleged victims at the Downtown Church after 3 years? 1,000 or 1,500?
  18. What role did the Elder Board play in both situations and governance? Is this a plurality of elders situation as well?
  19. Did anyone from either church allegedly try and interfere or prevent the Memphis Commercial Appeal from running their articles on Rick Trotter?
  20. Did Sandy Willson of Memphis Second Presbyterian Church allegedly know about Rick Trotter and do nothing?
  21. Did Sandy Willson  allegedly violate Tennessee’s mandatory reporting laws in not reporting the situation with Rick Trotter to law enforcement?
  22.  Was Sandy Willson or any other authorities at Memphis Second Presbyterian Church allegedly ever involved in a child sex abuse cover up or in covering up an incident with a sex offender?
  23. Going back to Fellowship Memphis what role did Ben Parkinson allegedly play in all this? Or did he?
  24. Since both Downtown Church (formerly Downtown Presbyterian Church) and Memphis Second Presbyterian Church are part of the Evangelical Presbyterian denomination did the regional leadership allegedly know about the situation with Rick Trotter and choose to do nothing? For example in EFCA West Steve Highfill leads the district just as Eddie Cole leads the Eastern District. Who oversees this part of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church that Richard Rieves or Sandy Willson reach out to?
  25. How did Bryan Loritts and John Bryson allegedly handle the money for Fellowship Memphis? Was money ever used in ways it should not have been? Did Bryan Loritts allegedly steer money to different sources and can it be accounted for?

 

I Need Sources for Richard Rieves Downtown Church, and Sandy Willson’s Memphis Second Presbyterian Church

Here is the deal I have several sources already that are helping me however I need a couple of former members or people in the know about Richard Rieves Downtown Church or Sandy Willson’s Memphis Second Presbyterian Church. Its important to get the information out that will help people and help the community get healthy. In order to clean the infection in Memphis you need to open the wound and drain the corruption. This is very important and needed to help make Memphis, Tennessee a safer and better place. So if you have information or past experience on either Richard Rieves or Sandy Willson’s church please email me at wonderingeagle261@gmail.com. Thanks guys and know that I love you!

 

41 thoughts on “Questions that Need Answering in Regards to the Rick Trotter Situation; Plus I Need Sources who are Knowledgeable about Richard Rieves Downtown Church and Sandy Willson’s Memphis Second Presbyterian

  1. Stop. You are sick and obsessive. Do you know that it’s not even anything but a MISDEMEANOR in the state of Tennessee? As in, Rick will probably not serve time or be on a sexual predator list? Why don’t you take time to fight that instead of attacking a bunch of people who actually did the right thing? Instead of attacking Rick you’re attacking the church? Do you not think this is hurtful to all four victims of Downtown who actually LOVE their church and have been fully supported through the whole thing?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Why thank you for that comment. So I am sick and obsessive? Do you think I will get hired on at Downtown Church? If so I’ll put together my resume for Richard Rieves and Chris Davis to look at! 😛

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      • Wait. What? I’m confused. So they Rick, identified victims, helped them press charges, and turned everything over to the police but they’re sick and obsessed? Help me understand your point–because right now I’m just totally confused.

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      • Richard Rieves hired Rick Trotter while knowing the history and problems. If they were responsible none of this would have happened. This was negligence…pure and simple. If Richard Rieves and others did their homework none of this would have happened. Remember that Bryan Loritts allegedly banned Rick Trotter from his home and yet had no problem with him going on to another church.

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    • Would putting Rick Trotter’s face with a list of his offenses, where and when they occurred, and a little note about the current Tennessee law on a Memphis billboard help move things along with the Tennessee legal system?
      If so, I’m game!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe those 4 people would be willing to go on the record?

      If you love your church, does that mean you cover it up when it does something wrong? That seems dysfunctional. I think if you love your church, you’d want to be vigilant to deal appropriately with issues that come up.

      Liked by 1 person

    • If there is evidence of one kid taped, that changes everything. So where is the “destroyed by church leaders” evidence? Obstruction of justice for victims.

      Your idea of what is sick and obsessive is scary. Me thinks you are hanging around a very sick culture that masquerades as Christian.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. They did their homework. That’s what’s horrible. Not only did they do it, but Rick read a statement of confession regarding what he’d done at Fellowship to all of Downtown Church’s members before he was hired, and the whole church still didn’t object to his being hired. I’m pretty sure lots of people feel bad about believing that he was sorry, not just the leadership of the church.

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      • Totally agree depending on who you speak to you get a different version of events. In one its a one time incident. Then in another they said it happened for 2 months. They also said that no minors were involved now Bryan Loritts on Twitter said they contacted DCS of Tennessee. So which is it? Bryan Loritts and Fellowship Memphis can you enlighten me please?

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    • Homework? Did they study and read up on his perversion? So, what exactly were his moral and theological attributes that made him a good hire for church staff? He said, “sorry” from stage?

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    • Be careful. You are playing fast and loose with the phrase “before he was hired.” Rick was labeled a “contractor” for years before he was officially hired (got health insurance benefits, 401k, etc.) full-time. He had been the worship leader and was listed on the Downtown (Pres) Church website for years prior to being “hired” as a full-time staff member & had his picture and profile shown right under Richard Rieves and Chris Davis on the church website.

      The Commercial Appeal confirms this about his employment status and timing of his “statement of full disclosure” to the congregation at Downtown (Pres) Church (not to be confused with the watered-down “confession” Trotter belatedly gave at Fellowship and that was re-printed in the wonderingeagle blog). An article in the Memphis newspaper detailing this timing can be seen at…http://www.commercialappeal.com/columnists/david-waters/churches-tried-to-help-trotter-what-about-victims-39e12e1e-e896-3e90-e053-0100007fb5a2-390077061.html
      In fairness, there are a number of wrong assertions in the article, but I suspect most of those were intentional lies and half-truths made by church leadership in order to avoid public culpability.

      At any rate, the church leadership would like to confuse people with the term “hired”, so as to take responsibility and liability off of themselves.

      To say that the church body was warned completely and approved him unanimously BEFORE he was actually hired (as in, before he was paid money or given a position to lead worship) is to suggest that he got in front of a group of people, most of whom did not know him personally, and said something to the effect of..

      “I, Rick Trotter, would like to be your worship pastor, if none of you objects. You should know that just months ago I was fired from my job at Fellowship Memphis for filming people in the church restroom facilities. I also set up a similar, clandestine video-taping system in the bathroom of my own home, where women and children were also filmed. I got caught, and I am sorry. I have been out of rehab for more than 30 days, now, and feel certain I am “cured” and probably won’t do these predatory acts to the women and children of Downtown Presbyterian Church. I expect that none of you objects to my hiring. I thank you for your support and look forward to knowing each of you and your families more intimately.”

      I am certain that did not happen. The church allowed him to ingratiate himself as the worship leader as a “contractor” for awhile (pedophiles refer to this sort of period as “grooming”) and then supposedly made people vaguely aware of what he had done.

      Your assertion that everyone knew before he was ever hired is to argue that your church is unanimously foolish or a cult. At the moment, I choose to give some members more credit than that. I do not give your leadership more credit than that. They should resign or be fired. They knowingly put the church body and their own families in jeopardy. They had been repeatedly warned.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Wow, abuse crusher, those conveniently left out details are important. It seems to me that even as a “contractor” worship leader, the pew sitters would have viewed Trotter as staff. Especially in a top down type church polity.

        Liked by 1 person

      • >>The church allowed him to ingratiate himself as the worship leader as a “contractor” for awhile (pedophiles refer to this sort of period as “grooming”) and then supposedly made people vaguely aware of what he had done.

        Ah! So this ‘confession’ happened after he had been at the church effectively in that position for years?

        Liked by 1 person

    • “That’s what’s horrible. Not only did they do it, but Rick read a statement of confession regarding what he’d done at Fellowship to all of Downtown Church’s members before he was hired, and the whole church still didn’t object to his being hired. ”

      But now we are hearing that he was working there on contract before he was “hired”. So using the word “hired” Is now coming off as an attempt to reframe the facts. Manipulative. I do understand that pew sitters may be ignorant of facts in a top down church structure. That is how such churches work.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “and the whole church still didn’t object to his being hired.”
    Please consult 1 Kings 22. Ahab’s 400 prophets all gave the same wrong answer. Ever wonder why? In comes Micaiah, tells the truth and lands in prison.

    Okay, now for the application, consider what would have happened to anyone who objected. Many know the drill, focus on the dissenter who dares speak up, shun them or label them unforgiving. The point of a firing squad is not to silence the guy with the blindfold, it is to silence everyone else.

    At this point you may think I am jumping to conclusions, I wasn’t there. I will answer, using your testimony. The proposal, or an announced decision, to bring this very questionable man on staff should have sparked much debate and disagreement. The testimony you provide is support for the decision was unanimous. I have had the misfortune in my 60+ years of witnessing way too many instances of “unanimous” support from smiling faces. Total consent is simply not possible for this type decision unless there is coercion or manipulation. At this point don’t attempt to claim unity in the Spirit was the reason for the unity of the response unless you want to claim the Spirit misled everyone into making the wrong decision.

    Finally, it tries our patience when men who claim too much authority in the church then try to hide behind the skirts of “the whole church” when things go wrong. The pastors made the decision to go the wrong way and everyone else was just along for the ride.

    Liked by 1 person

    • >>Okay, now for the application, consider what would have happened to anyone who objected.

      I mean, did they have a vote? Did they have a church meeting about whether it was ok to hire this guy?

      Seems like they had this public display while telling the church he was hired, which makes anybody who thought it was a bad idea the bad guy, who would probably be ignored anyway if they said nope.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Seems like his confession was a feel-good show put on for the church. Look what God can do, what God has done. Who is going to sit there and say, “I don’t believe it”? Skepticism is not encouraged at church.

    I hope you get some good sources for information, Eagle. People need to realize that it’s these kinds of things that are contributing to the droves of “dones” leaving the church.

    John 3:19
    “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.”

    If the church provides darkness (covers up sin), it becomes a haven for those who love darkness. I think Romans 2 is also instructive in this situation.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yeah. The churches are playing image management and the cheap grave card. This is not over. But they will have to keep victims from speaking up. We al, know how that works. Most victims have been brainwashed in this cult already. They won’t have to break with everything that they trusted.

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  5. I will shed some light on a few of these at a time, because I really believe that the churches need to stop covering up and passing around these predators. (Should go without saying–these people are contemptible!)
    Did John Bryson and Bryan Loritts allegedly destroy evidence of alleged child pornography, either directly or by order?
    Bryan Loritts stated that the church’s attorney told them to “throw the evidence in the Mississippi River,” and that it was his intent to comply.

    Lead elder, Hamp Holcomb, confirmed this.

    Both had been made aware that Rick’s recordings in his home included kids (at a minimum, his own). Apparently, as well, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, the leaders at the church had tried to discourage a teenage girl (read: legal minor–see also, “child pornography”) from pressing charges. (http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/crime/former-grizzlies-announcer-rick-trotter-recorded-women-at-another-church-in-2010-39bedcc2-20da-6c88–389935171.html)

    John Bryson may not have destroyed the recordings, personally (creating his “plausible deniability” for the Christian Post article), but he knew that it was the stated intention of church leadership to do so. (http://www.christianpost.com/news/ex-acts-29-board-member-john-bryson-hires-private-investigator-after-allegations-he-covered-for-voyeur-pastor-168430/)

    Presumably, these guys followed through. When? Where? Who?

    If they didn’t follow through (& maybe on that odd-chance they didn’t), I suggest any of the victims contact an attorney and sue Fellowship and it’s leaders (present and past), individually & corporately, for the content.

    My sincere guess is that they followed through, lest they be in possession of child pornography (which, incidentally, had the police or the Department of Children’s services actually been alerted to and witnessed, would have most likely put Rick Trotter in prison for some time and been a HUGE church scandal).

    Was Rick Trotter allegedly videotaping kids in situations of baby sitting, sports activities or other situations?

    At a minimum, Rick Trotter illicitly recorded in the bathroom at his own home and even admitted that his own kids were recorded. While his intention may not have been to film them, specifically, it would seem he was trying to ensnare his friends and family (including extended family) who might use his restroom. This would, quite possibly and logically (and sickly), include babysitters (minors) who were taking care of his kids.

    Did John Bryson or Bryan Loritts allegedly threaten members with church discipline?

    Yes. I was threatened with church discipline for warning parents of kids who were (at the time) going over to the predator’s house and whose kids babysat at Rick’s house (where, again, he set up his clandestine video-recording system, in addition to his similar efforts at church facilities). I disregarded these blatantly stupid, cowardly, and indefensible threats and warned families, anyway. It seems to me that other families and singles in the church should have the same information with which to protect themselves that the church leadership had to safeguard their own families.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have my admiration for standing up against these “leaders”. It would be very interesting to get your story sometime.

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    • AbuseCrusher this is all so upsetting! I am from Memphis and have been a member at Fellowship Memphis.

      Did the entire staff know what Rick Trotter had allegedly done?

      Did the elders know?

      John Bryson has said he doesn’t know what happened because he wasn’t involved.

      From what I can tell many of the staff and elders are still there. Did any of them stand in agreement with you or take action to notify the authorities or protect the families?
      I think these were the leaders back then and many still lead. Please tell me, were any standing with you?
      Bill Garner – executive pastor
      Bryan Loritts – teaching pastor/elder
      John Bryson – founding pastor/elder
      Ben Parkinson – pastor/elder
      Brian Crenshaw – youth pastor
      Ricky Jenkins – pastor
      Hamp Holcomb – lead elder
      Soup Cambell – elder
      Randy Odom – elder
      Jason Holbrook – elder

      Liked by 1 person

      • Memphian–

        Did the entire staff know what Rick Trotter had allegedly done?

        I can’t speak to the knowledge of every, single staff member. I’m sure some of them were merely given half-truths.

        Did the elders know?

        Yes. The elders knew and had even been notified that Rick’s various illicit recordings involved kids.

        John Bryson has said he doesn’t know what happened because he wasn’t involved.

        John Bryson is not being forthright. To believe that he knew nothing, you have to believe that the founding pastor, elder and chief architect of the church, JB, asked ZERO questions of what had transpired here, involving lewd videos taken of his staff and congregation by the Worship Pastor & brother-in-law of the chief teaching pastor. Does he believe the public is that gullible?!? Does he want them to believe that this was an insignificant event, unworthy of his attention? (If it was “insignificant,” what other stuff was he involved in that was more important and shouldn’t his congregation know about that momentous event?)

        If John Bryson would like everyone to believe that he had no involvement (which would also mean that as an elder, he sat in on ZERO meetings where this matter was ever discussed) and it has been (albeit, erroneously) suggested elsewhere that Loritts was removed from the decision-making process, then (by process of elimination) he is clearly throwing the third member of the triumvirate of lead pastors, Ben Parkinson, and lead elder, Hamp Holcomb, under the bus and intimating that this was their call, exclusively; perhaps, they would like to respond and clear this up, eh?

        If John Bryson would like to say he didn’t know and made no efforts to find out pertinent information (such as, “What happened to the evidence?” or “Were the authorities contacted and official reports filed?”), then he should be fired. If he did know what was going on (and he did), he should be fired. Key leaders who label themselves “disinvolved” from protecting their flocks from sexual predators should not be working in ministry, nor should those who were actively involved. Even if you wish to believe Bryson’s incredulous claims of late, the net result should be the same.

        However, JB will not fire himself.

        From what I can tell many of the staff and elders are still there. Did any of them stand in agreement with you or take action to notify the authorities or protect the families?
        I think these were the leaders back then and many still lead. Please tell me, were any standing with you?
        Bill Garner – executive pastor
        Bryan Loritts – teaching pastor/elder
        John Bryson – founding pastor/elder
        Ben Parkinson – pastor/elder
        Brian Crenshaw – youth pastor
        Ricky Jenkins – pastor
        Hamp Holcomb – lead elder
        Soup Cambell – elder
        Randy Odom – elder
        Jason Holbrook – elder

        I know that there is only one person on your list who did not know. (He well-may have known, I just can’t speak to that knowledge with certainty). The other guys knew.

        No one would stand with me. One person on your list “stood with me” in the sense that he knew these guys were wickedly covering up the facts and wanted me to continue pressing on to have the truth revealed, but he was afraid that his career would be in jeopardy if he took either a public stand or confronted these other fools and bullies face-to-face with a reasonable admonition for them to change course and do the right thing. That someone else who knew these characters well was worried about them going out of their way to hurt his career should he join with me in suggesting they be open about the truth tells you all you need to know about this motley bunch and their perceived reach in the local community.

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  6. Abuse crusher, thank you for warning people any way.

    The leaders should be fired for destroying evidence. There needs to be a lawsuit for the discovery process alone. Sue the leaders. Not the church. Churches as institutions can practically get away with anything.

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  8. AbuseCrusher, thanks for standing firm (Eph 6) and doing what is right.

    If Trotter had been reported, as he should have been, a warrant would have been issued for his electronic media, it would have been examined, victims would have been identified and warned, and he would have been stopped. It’s very instructive as to the hearts of these church leaders that they called their attorney rather than the officials!

    The obvious question is, do they not trust God enough to do what is right? Do they think God is incapable of working “all things together for good” (Rom 8:28)? They have to turn to the world’s underhanded ways of dealing because God is impotent? They were not able to ” do what is right without being frightened by any fear” (1 Peter 3:6). If they had been in Abraham’s place, would they have offered up Isaac?

    So then why are they leading others? They are no example of faith or strength.

    1 Peter 4:14-16:
    “If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.”

    I count those who are vilified for speaking the truth about this situation as those who are being reviled for the name of Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for clarifying this for me AbuseCrusher! My kids have attended some youth events and I would consider myself a friend or business associate for many of the people listed and this is beyond disturbing. Their silence on this matter speaks volumes. I know they have been keeping up with the media here and locally and yet cowardly they sit in self-protective silence.

    Liked by 1 person

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