Day Eight of the Thomas Chantry Trial

By | August 9, 2018


The highlight of today’s court session: The State rested their case late in the afternoon. Defense attorney John Sears immediately requested that Judge Astrowsky dismiss all eight counts and acquit Tom Chantry. Sears said that according to Rule 20 the State had failed to meet its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt on all eight criminal counts.

Apparently, this is a common maneuver made by defense attorneys, but since this is the first trial I have ever sat through I was confused by what Sears was attempting to do.

Judge Astrowsky denied the motion on all eight counts but not before there was a lengthy discussion on each count.

In other news of interest John Sears, who seemed irritated by Eric Owens’  comment at the end of last Friday’s testimony when he stated that he didn’t think Tom Chantry was a Christian, couldn’t resist his urge to explore this subject in greater detail during his cross-examination of Owens.  Owens did an admirable job explaining why he holds that opinion.

I actually enjoyed watching the cross-examination of Owens by Sears. I am unsure if Owens was purposely forcing Sears to be specific in his questioning but on several occasions, he would answer “no” when Sears was expecting a “yes” answer.  Sears would do a double take and ask Owens to explain his answer. In one example Owens said, “You said children, it was only one child.” It seemed Owens was giving Sears a dose of his own medicine and Sears wasn’t enjoying it. It reminded me of the scene below from the movie “Phenomenon.”

Pastor Christopher Marley testified that in 2012 he received a phone call from Pastor John Giarrizzo of Grace Covenant Church in Gilbert. Giarrizzo asked Marley to let bygones be bygones and asked him to help facilitate a reconciliation between Tom Chantry and Miller Valley Baptist Church. After consulting with his Elders Marley replied to Giarrizzo that he would be happy to work for the requested reconciliation but Tom Chantry needed to begin the process by coming to Prescott to confess and repent and seek forgiveness from all whom he had harmed.

That never happened. (It should be noted that Rich Howe testified that Giarrizzo advised Chantry in 2000 that he should just leave Miller Valley Baptist Church. In my opinion, Giarrizzo wanted to now smooth things over between Chantry and Miller Vallery Baptist Church because he knew Chantry was going to be attempting to bring his church in Wisconsin into the ARBCA and didn’t want the sordid mess of 1995-2000 brought up.)

It should be noted that both Eric Owens and Pastor Marley testified under oath that Tom Chantry never fulfilled his obligations outlined in the 2000 ARBCA 3 man investigative committee report.  Specifically, recommendation 8 which has words to the effect that Chantry must confess of his wrongdoing against the children he abused, repent and apologize to his victims.  This is the central reason Miller Valley Baptist leaders felt it their moral obligation to oppose Chantry’s efforts to bring his church in Wisconsin into the ARBCA. As noted below, this points out another lie that ARBCA leaders included in their 2017 letter addressing the Tom Chantry affair.

In 2015 Marley saw Tom Chantry at the General Assembly meeting. He learned Chantry was applying for membership in the ARBCA. Marley voiced his objections to this by writing a letter to the Administrative Council. It was Marley’s belief that Tom never complied with the recommendations from the 2000 Investigative committee, specifically recommendation #8.

When Marley learned of Victim 1’s alleged sexual molestation by Tom Chantry he reported this to the ARBCA. ARBCA had this information prior to Chantry’s church becoming members of ARBCA, but inexplicably they still allowed Chantry’s church to become members.

Editor’s note: I was advised that 8 of the 12 men pictured above are no longer in the ARBCA. Arden Hodgins is out of the ministry, Ron Baines died of cancer two years ago, Doug Van Dorn, Hank Rast, David Campbell, Gordon Taylor, Matt Foreman and Steve Woodman all left ARBCA between 2014-2015 -with prejudice.

In the strange category, Dale Smith has been attending the trial every day. He always comes into the courtroom a few minutes late and leaves promptly after the session is over. He sits on the Prosecution side of the gallery and never speaks to anyone.

Why is this strange?  Because Dale Smith is the Senior Pastor of Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Rockford, IL. Al Huber, the father-in-law of Tom Chantry, is the Assistant Pastor of Grace Reformed Baptist Church. Al Huber has also been at the trial every day. These guys have had no contact during this trial, not a word. Nor does Smith talk to any others in the Chantry clan!


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