CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Chesterfield County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has reversed course in the ongoing case against a Virginia Beach pastor accused of solicitation, now objecting to having the records against him sealed from public view.

As 8News previously reported, Rock Church International Pastor John Blanchard was arrested, along with 16 other men, in an undercover sex sting in Chesterfield County back in 2021.

The majority of the cases against the other defendants moved forward, with some even serving jail time. But in October of 2022, the charges against Blanchard were dropped, citing a “lack of evidence.” This was despite text messages showing conversations between Blanchard and police as officers posted as an underage prostitute to lure in potential offenders

After charges were dropped against him in October, Blanchard filed to have the records on the case sealed. Initially, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said they had no objection to this move. However, on Monday, Feb. 6, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney LaToya Croxton filed a motion and order objecting to expungement proceedings in the case against Blanchard.

Recently, Commonwealth’s Attorney Stacey Davenport announced that a special prosecutor out of Brunswick County was being appointed to look at potentially reopening the case.

8News legal analyst Russ Stone said that this latest development is highly unusual.

“I would think the only argument the Commonwealth is really making here is that if, in fact, this particular defendant is charged again with other offenses, felony offenses, then the continued dissemination of this misdemeanor record doesn’t really cause harm,” Stone said. “I guess we’re going to have to wait to see what the judge does.”

On Tuesday, Blanchard’s attorney, T. Noel Brooks filed a response, objecting to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office’s motion, arguing the the expungement process has already been delayed and that the prosecutors did not file their motion to stay the proceedings within the allotted 21-day window.

8News reached out to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office for comment on the latest filing, but have not gotten a response.