This post is going to lay out facts as I know them at this point.
Wade Burleson has made a post today that asks some very pointed questions given the facts that I have outlined below.
I will offer no analysis in this post, or assign any motives...just the facts and chronology and documents and video as I have them from facts gathered from discussions with the JSO, the State Attorney's office, and a review of publicly available documents.
Whether you agree with this blog and its contents or whether you think I'm a villain for blogging as I have or if you think I have raised valid points: whichever side you fall on with regard to this blog and me, perhaps, PERHAPS you will find these facts troubling.
But I will let you draw your own conclusions.
Here is what I know:
September 2008: Mac delivers sermons in advance of the Chest of Joash Sunday which was 9/28/08. During September I was very critical of some of his tactics used in his sermons to compel people to give. I was critical especially of Mac's attempt to raise $1,000,000 for necessary repairs of our facilities, including roof repair and chiller replacements. I was critical of how Mac crossed the line from challenging his church to outright criticism and abuse for not meeting his expectations (here, here, and here). I called out Mac for his phony declaration that the churches in Rome were "satellite churches" in a weak attempt to sell us on his satellite concept. I was particularly critical of the arrogant and abusive manner in which Mac demanded we give $1 million in two weeks else we would go into debt. I was critical of the need to raise $1 million when other non-budget expenditures were made earlier in the year that could have been used to repair our facilities. I encouraged people to NOT give money to the special offering, because they have already given the money in the budget and that facility maintenance and repairs are not something for which a special offering should be held. No lies or slander - just hard hitting analysis of Mac's own words with audio and video clips.
9/28/08: Chest of Joash Service - Mac delivers his version of "And the Iron Did Swim". Commitments are collected, special offering is collected. The special offering for the facility repairs is about 1/4 of the amount asked for. Budget committments were not reported by the church but rumors were that they were unusually low.
9/29/09: The Monday AFTER Chest of Joash, at 2:30 pm, Church Administrator John Blount calls the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to file a complaint about "an on-going Internet incident that has possible criminal overtones". Click here to read the investigation report. The officer that responds to the complaint is JSO Detective Robert A. Hinson, a long-time member of FBC Jax and member of the church security detail.
It has been confirmed that Detective Hinson sent subpoenas to the State Attorney's office for approval to be issued to Google to have Google release the IP addresses and identities of the following Google customers: Sean Lyons, FBC Jax Watchdog, and Tiffany Croft. These subpoenas were approved by of the State Attorney's office and sent to Google.
It has also been confirmed that Detective Hinson issued another subpoena to the State Attorney for approval, to have Comcast release the names of several of the IP addresses provided by Google. The subpoenas are approved by the State Attorney office, and the owner of the FBC Jax Watchdog blog is released by Comcast to Detective Hinson - himself a member of FBC Jacksonville.
The dates of the subpoenas have not been confirmed, nor have copies of the subpoenas been obtained. But the issuance of the subpoenas and confirmation that the identity of the owner of the Watchdog blog WAS released by Comcast to Detective Hinson as a result of the subpoenas is a fact confirmed by at least two separate parties.
11/13/08: Detective Hinson closes his investigation that he opened on 9/29/08, and states in the report: "...this investigation was closed after no criminal activity was discovered on this reported incident." Click here to see copy of the JSO report.
11/28/08: TWO WEEKS after Detective Hinson closes his case, John Blount and Kevin King hand deliver a letter to me, accusing me of owning the blog site, making accusations of multiple sins of being derogatory, divisive, destructive, and demeaning to the ministry of FBC Jacksonville. The letter provides two trespass warning forms, and informs me that my wife and I are "...prohibited from coming on the Church grounds or premises for any reason except the meeting above described" meaning we must first have met with the Discipline Committee of the church. We are sternly warned in the letter that "Any violation of this Notice [trespass warnings] will result in appropriate sanctions."
For this discussion of how the identity of the Watchdog was discovered, the most important portion of this letter from FBC Jacksonville to the owner of the Watchdog blog is this, in the 2nd paragraph:
"You have been positively identified to us, by name and address, as the owner of fbcjaxwatchdog.blogspot.com, a blog site you own, manage and/or control. We know you have authored and/or permitted to be authored the contents thereof for many months."
11/29/08: I have blogged previously about what happened after the letter was delivered. The church discipline committee demanded I meet with them, but the meeting never took place as I requested copies of the bylaws, representation at the meeting, and asked for the basis of the allegations as conditions for the meeting; the committee refused all three requests. The church declared this matter to be "ecclesiastical" in nature although they had full knowledge the church administration (John Blount) had contacted the JSO previously alleging criminal behavior to be associated with the blog.
12/3/08: John Blount and the committee refused entrance to the church to my wife and me, preventing us from watching our daughter sing a solo with her ensemble in church that night unless we agreed to meet with the committee first. See attached letter. Since the committee was not interested in meeting any of our reasonable requests prior to such a meeting, we naturally declined to meet, and thus were told we were not welcomed to come in the doors of our own church to accompany our daughter to watch her sing with her ensemble that night.
12/7/08: At 10:00 am, while most FBC Jax members are in Sunday School, the church executes formal trespass warnings against my wife and I with JSO Officer C.R. Butler. Click here to see this official trespass warning that is on file at the JSO. Notice the reason for the trespass warning being issued against both my wife and I is "church misconduct". My wife, a faithful member and church volunteer for 20 years, who has committed no church misconduct, is banned from the church property for "church misconduct".
12/14/08: My wife did not wish for my children to harmed by this action by our church administration, so she continued to bring the kids to their church youth functions, but because of the trespass warning against her she would drop the kids off and stay in her car and wait for the worship services to be over. She wanted very badly to accompany my daughter to the Travis Cottrell concert and sent Blount an email asking permission to accompany her daughter to the concert - Blount didn't reply until Monday (understandably since it was a Sunday email) so my wife sat in her car waiting for the concert to be over. My wife was banned from her church for doing nothing other than associating with her husband.
2/1/09: In mid-December we began visiting other churches. After visiting a new church for about 5 weeks, and after absolutely no contact from John Blount in over six weeks, we decide to join our new church on 2/1/09. The last communication I had with Blount was around 12/15/08.
2/11/09: Blount calls and emails me to let me know I need to meet with the committee as they will be taking their investigation before the deacons. I asked Blount to leave us alone. Blount said he was "compelled" by the bylaws to inform me the Deacons would be presented the results of the committee's investigation. I was invited to speak before the deacons, I accepted with the condition I would have 15 minutes of uninterrupted time to speak, but Blount emailed me back to tell me my wife would not be allowed to attend, and that I would not be able to speak of the allegations made on this blog. Thus I decided not to speak before the deacons. Blount then rescinded his offer for me to attend. I confirmed his email and clarified the reasons why I was not speaking.
2/23/09: The deacons hold a special meeting to consider the "Deacon's Resolution 2009-1" that condemns me, and contains a false "whereas" statement of fact concerning the terms that we left to join our new church. We did NOT leave FBC Jax after I was told we would be disciplined by the deacons; its quite the opposite. We left the church, and THEN Blount calls to let me know the discipline committee would be disciplining us. According to A.C. Soud, Jr. the deacons unanimously ratify his resolution. Several deacons that were present stated that they were told the blog owner was suspected of committing crimes such as stealing the Brunson's email and/or video taping or taking pictures of Mrs. Brunson, and that there may be an on-going investigation with the State Attorney's office.
2/25/09: Judge A.C. Soud in the business meeting before the service reads the Deacon's Resolution 2009-1, and Chairman of the Deacons Keith Hill calls for a vote from the congregation by asking members to stand (click here to watch video of the resolution recitation by A.C. Soud). The church confirms the resolution by an overwhelming majority. The church has hyperlinked the resolution on the main page of the church website.
2/26/09: I made several attempts to contact John Blount to inquire about the baseless, slanderous accusations made to the deacons about stalking, taking pictures or video of Mrs. Brunson, and stealing of their mail. Blount never returned any phone calls or emails.
Several questions that I have:
1. On what basis did John Blount call the JSO concerning Internet activity with "possible criminal overtones"? Did the timing have anything to do with the Chest of Joash service and the committments and special offerings? Did he call the JSO on his own volition, or was he directed by a superior to make the phone call to allege criminal activity? Was the purpose of this call to truly allege criminal activity, or was it to initiate a process by which the identity of the Watchdog could be obtained?
2. On what basis did Detective Hinson issue subpoenas for the identity of the blog? Are not criminal allegations necessary for such a subpoena? What were they?
3. Why was Detective Hinson, a member of the FBC Jax, the officer assigned to a case investigating a possible criminal matter involving a blog critical of his own pastor? Should not he have recused himself from a criminal investigation involving his own church and his own pastor?
4. Who was it that "positively identified" the blog owner's identity to the six men that signed the November 25th letter? Was it Detective Hinson? If so, and if the detective's investigation found that there was no criminal activity, would not the file be closed and records destroyed and the private records from Comcast destroyed? Is it common practice to release a citizen's private Internet records to an aggrieved party after an investigation is closed and no criminal activity is found?
Those are the questions I have.
Those are the facts as I know them.