Former Main Street Church executive pastor John Vermeer is scheduled to face a seven-day trial starting July 23 in Chilliwack provincial court on possession and accessing child pornography.

Trial starts Monday for Chilliwack pastor facing child porn charges

Main Street Church’s former executive pastor John Vermeer set for seven-day trial

A child pornography trial starts Monday for the former executive pastor of downtown Chilliwack’s Main Street Church.

Johannes (John) Vermeer faces one count each of possession of child pornography and accessing child pornography from May 1, 2010. He also faces the same charges with an offence date of March 17, 2015.

He was first arrested way back in March of 2018. The case moved through the courts until last September when a seven-day trial was scheduled to begin July 22.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack pastor facing child pornography charges

After Vermeer was arrested, Main Street’s senior pastor Shawn Vandop informed the congregation of the downtown Chilliwack church about the charges. He said parishioners met the news with “shock.”

“It’s not something that we want to hear or want to deal with but we live in a broken and messy world with a lot of pain,” he said at the time.

“We actually reported this to police when we heard there was this activity on the computer system.”

Vandop reported soon after the arrest that Vermeer was no longer an employee of the church. The church offers many programs for youth, so he wanted to make that clear from the outset.

“No child in our care is impacted by this situation,” he said. “That’s really important.”

Vermeer had served as executive pastor for the church since 2009.

• RELATED: Downtown revival seen in new church

Vermeer was a member of the city’s downtown core task force and was elected to the 2011/2012 Downtown Business Improvement Association board. The 59-year-old was also an executive committee member of the B.C. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, but as of March 29, 2018, his profile photo and bio were no longer on the www.bcmb.org website.

His trial is scheduled to run July 22, 23, 25, 29, 30, 30 and Aug. 1.


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

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