VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WRIC) — John Blanchard, a pastor who was arrested in Chesterfield County last year after authorities reported that he had solicited sex from a detective posing as a minor online, has voluntarily stepped back from his lead pastor role and all other ministerial duties at Rock Church in Virginia Beach.

The announcement was made in a statement by Rock Church on its website. The statement added that Bishop Anne Gimenez will step in as the church’s lead pastor for the time being to share the pulpit with Blanchard’s wife, Pastor Robin.

“The Church condemns sexual immorality of any kind and in any form by its members and leaders and especially holds its leaders to a high standard of accountability on any lifestyle choices that could reflect negatively on the reputation of the Church or disparage the character of the Savior whom it purports to represent,” the church’s statement read.

Last week, a new police report and text messages were released to the public revealing more details about the events that led to Blanchard’s arrest in October 2021.

The full statement from Rock Church as seen on its website. (Photo: 8News)

According to police, Blanchard, a Virginia Beach native who was 51 years old at the time of his arrest, had contacted a detective who was posing as a minor on a prostitution website as part of an ongoing sting operation.

The police report reveals that the undercover detective told Blanchard at one point during their exchange over text message that “she” was 17 years old. Authorities said Blanchard indicated to the detective that he was looking for a “qv,” which, according to the police report, is a phrase in the sex trade meaning “quick visit.”

After his arrest, Blanchard told police he was not soliciting and was only interested in spending time with someone. He also told detectives he did not remember receiving a text message about the person being underage and did not see the message where the person indicated their age.

Blanchard was subsequently charged with soliciting the prostitution of a minor and using a vehicle to promote prostitution, both felony offenses. He was set to appear in court in October 2022, but his charges ended up being dropped.

The announcement made by Rock Church on Wednesday added that the church would be “committed to honesty and integrity in dealing with charges or accusations of sexual misconduct or immorality among its leaders and will support any investigation arising from accusations of violation of this standard among its staff and leaders in an effort to find the truth and to protect its members, church families and their children, at all times.”