Part 5: Victim Impact Statements for Judge Astrowsky in Tom Chantry Case - “We Gave Our Children, Unknowingly, Over to a Pedophile”
Monday, December 24, 2018 at 6:19PM
Brent Detwiler

Thomas J. Chantry was found guilty on two aggravated assault charges on August 21, 2108.  He was sentenced on October 19, 2108 by Judge Bradley Astrowsky.  In consideration of sentencing, the two victims and their parents sent impact statements to the Judge asking him to sentence Chantry to time in prison and not simply be put on probation.  These statements provide extraordinary insight into what they experienced and the unimaginable trauma they suffered.  

On the stand in the courtroom under oath on August 17, 2018, Chantry told the jury he absolutely did not assault the two children.  To this day, he denies all wrong doing in the case.  In consideration of sentencing, Chantry’s lawyer, John Sears, made this emphatic claim for his child abusing client in Chantry Defendant’s Sentencing Memorandum, October 16, 2018.  

“As this Court knows, Defendant steadfastly denies committing any crimes whatsoever against either of these two victims and intends to appeal.” 

May the Lord God Almighty deal with Mr. Sears for defending the evil actions of Tom Chantry. 

Chantry physically assaulted and/or sexually molested six children from four families in Miller Valley Baptist Church in Prescott, AZ.  The Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America (ARBCA) did an investigation in 2000.  Upon completion, they conspired to cover up the crimes.  A score of top officials knew Chantry was a child abuser but refused to report him to law enforcement.  Tom Chantry’s father, Walt Chantry, who was a founder of ARBCA, demanded officials cover up the known crimes. 

One cannot imagine the harm done to the victims by Tom Chantry, ARBCA officials and Walt Chantry.  Every remaining pastor in ARBCA must read these impact statements and all the evidence about which I and others have written; and confront the corruption that is pervasive in the matter.  This should result in widespread repentance and resignations by a score of ARBCA leaders.  If not, I fail to see how any pastor can remain if they have any integrity.  They should leave ARBCA. 

At the end of the four impact statements, I have also included an article by Max Efrein of the Daily Courier newspaper in Prescott, AZ in which the Judge explains his reasons for his sentencing decision. 

I’ve redacted the real names, and substituted fictious names in italic letters, for all the victims and parents in what follows.  I’ve added a few notes in brackets [ ]. 

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Impact Statement of Jane Walsh
October 2018 

I never imagined in my life that I would get the opportunity to say what has been on my heart since I was the age of 9, let alone testifying my experience on the matter within a trial. 

As an adult, you can see things more black and white.  Your perceptions are a bit more guarded, you are more aware of your surroundings, and you learn to become wary of possible threats around you.  You would also assume, as an adult, that you are able to voice your concerns of any personal harm that has been presented in your life to be met with counsel and a means to find closure with a situation, especially within a church. 

As a child growing up in a church, these “concerns” [for personal harm] were brought to the counsel [the ARBCA Informal Council comprised of Mike McKnight, Tedd Tripp and Rich Jensen], and the cries for help and guidance fell on deaf ears.  The promises made to us for the pain we went through were eventually broken, and so today I am presenting my personal experience on this matter. 

I, nor my brother, nor the other victims involved in this case asked for this type of abuse.  We were much like weak sheep sought after and preyed upon by a wolf [Tom Chantry] in sheep’s clothing.  This man is calculated and conniving.  He used his position as a leader as a power play to reign over our fragile and impressionable minds.  He took advantage of our parents trust, which in turn led to years battling with trusting our own parents discernment of our safety after the abuse.  My anger and hurt still runs deep to this day.  I mourn over each victim in this sordid story.  We didn’t have a choice.  Our voices were not heard, our pain was covered over years of shame, guilt and fear.  This man single handedly succeeded in making every one of us question our self worth, our worth to our parents, our worth to God and our worth of getting in to heaven.  After years of turmoil and pain, as adults now, I am relieved we can express more accurately and more articulately of the suffering we had to endure under Tom’s merciless and deviant ways. 

As a child, I was one who was extremely impressionable.  Whether it was lead [led] by family, church, or school, all of these elements would mold me in to the person I became growing up.  As a child growing up in the church, I was taught to respect your elders, to not question authority because you are not mature enough to, to be mindful of your actions and how those actions can affect not just you, or others around you, but most importantly, that your actions would reflect your heart and your heart through Jesus.  Through this, there is a lot of innocence, a lot of naivety, and you’re sheltered from things of the world.  You don’t question authority.  My parents did a spectacular job raising my brother and I.  Everything was in our best interest, they wanted nothing more than for us to grow in to respectful, mindful, loving, selfless and peaceful individuals, growing in the grace of God. 

I need to express heavily, that my parents intentions were pure and good by raising Wayne and I at Miller Valley Baptist Church.  They raised us in a church where Wayne and I were not just lead and loved by our parents, but by other families, and other children whose bonds were just as close as family.  Our lives were happy at Miller Valley.  We felt safe, and we felt loved in our early years there.  I would also want to express that my parents hardly disciplined Wayne and I physically - it was one to two light spankings at most if it did occur.  On top of this, they never placed the responsibility of physical discipline to baby sitters, other church members, not even our own family members. 

The fate of what happened, happened.  I would never, even on my worst enemy, would wish the devastation that Tom brought to our family and our lives.  Because of his actions towards us, he shook my family to its core, nearly destroyed my parents marriage, and my brother and I suffered years with anxiety together and separately from our abuse.  On top of this, he forever tarnished the beauty of community within our church.  After he ran away like a thief in the night, our church’s congregation did not just only split, but over the years dwindled down to a handful of members.  Even now, there is still a twinge of lingering gloom that clouds over the buildings of that same church. 

From the beginning, he mocked our parents trust.  He mocked the trust of all our parents - the same parents who made every effort into making Tom feel accepted into our church upon his arrival, to support him as a pastor, and to respect him as a leader.  Even with the temper tantrums he would throw in front of our congregation, belittling members, and casting himself away from members in our church, they still tried their best to encourage him to be the pastor they were expecting him to be - humble, wise, giving and cheerful.  He used the kindness we showed him to his advantage in his own selfishness, and also used it as a way to scare us in to keeping our mouths shut from the pain and the abuse he inflicted on us. 

The months spent with Tom while he tutored us, I can only describe as dark and hopeless.  He would taunt us relentlessly, until one of us broke, and there he would take his moment to seize and attack.  I try not to think of these memories often.  And, I would hope those of you listening would understand, that as a child, when you experience pain and fear through periods of trauma, you are quick to sweep horrendous memories under a rug in your mind as you mature, as a way to cope with the pain.  He inflicted not just physical pain, but instilled decades worth of fear and anxiety as I grew in to a young woman.  I had difficulty being around men, aside from my own father, family members and close friends, for years after the abuse, and struggled with depression and self doubt about my presence here on earth.  It affected my thoughts about myself greatly, constantly questioning my own merit and creating a mental state where I felt vulnerable and undeserving of anything around me.  I spent years conditioning myself to rid these awful memories in to darkness and not to dwell on them, and did all I could to move past the pain, the guilt, the shame, and the defeat.  It took well in to my adulthood to overcome the fear and anxiety he brought in to my life.  There are glimpses though, memories of the abuse, that I can’t help but cry at the thought of.  I have spent decades worrying and knowing that this man has walked freely on this earth, and would use his power to take advantage of others, to do whatever his sick heart desired. 

The feeling of being in the same room when his temper would sky rocket was ridiculous and manipulative at best.  We would sit still in our seats, waiting warily to see who he would take his anger out on next.  It didn’t matter if it was a catechism question that was answered incorrectly, an answer to a math problem that wasn’t figured out in a timely manner to his liking, or even if one of us would celebrate winning a silly board game, he would take advantage of any reaction on our part, and use it in the most twisted and vile ways he could for his own pleasure.  I remember clearly that before we would go to Tom’s house for a tutoring session, I would consistently tell myself to listen to him as best as I could, in hopes of escaping his wrath.  I quickly realized it didn’t matter how much I tried to listen to him, or to obey him, somehow, some way, he would still find a means to abuse us through petty reasons.  He made all of us question the existence of God and God’s everlasting love - why would a man who professed to speak the word of God beat us over a glass of water?  Is this what God intended?  Would God see Tom’s actions as just and honorable for every time his hand pounded against our bodies? 

Would God smile upon him for every strike that his hand, oar, belt or any other tool he used against us, boasting Tom as a “true and faithful servant”?  I never understood how a pastor, who professed the love of God, could be so cruel and hateful.  I never understood how someone I was told to respect and to trust, would make us live in complete fear for our lives.  I can say, even though my experience was bad enough, I sadly didn’t get abused as bad as my brother or the other boys involved.  I know now, I was used [as] a token, to keep quite as I witnessed my own younger brother [Wayne], beat repeatedly as Tom’s face turned beet red, yelling at the top of his lungs how our faults wouldn’t even be forgiven by our parents or God.  The pain that hurts the most, and the guilt I even carry as an adult today, was having to experience seeing my younger brother, the one individual I’ve always been taught to and naturally protect, be beaten in countless ways, and even worse, watching Tom drag him to the church from the parsonage where we were being tutored, and having no idea what sickening acts he would perform on my brother [sexual molestation] behind closed doors in Tom’s church office.  I was not capable of saving Wayne.  For the times I did witness my brothers abuse, I watched in complete horror, frozen, anxiously dreading the worst, and fearing if I made an attempt to run, my fate would be at stake.  I felt paralyzed sitting on the couch in Tom’s living room, plans of action running through my head - if I could just get past him and out the front door, maybe I can run to the Auto Body shop next door and cry for help.  Maybe I can run as fast as I can across the street to the local hospital and ask for someone to intervene.  Maybe if I cry loud enough, or scream loud enough, someone walking past Tom’s house will hear and save us.  I truly felt that our lives were in danger.  How could you not feel that way at such a young age? 

I remember when I made the “grave mistake” of setting a glass of water on a table surface and not on a coaster as he had asked.  Tom stood up from his seat and barked at me to follow him to a room in the back of his house.  My stomach dropped to the floor.  I had already seen what had taken place with the abuse on my brother in front of my eyes, and now my time had come.  The room he lead me into was bleak, the only light faintly peering through the room were through closed blinds.  He asked me to bend over his lap.  I remember shaking and felt sick as I bent over.  He didn’t spank me.  His hands pounded on my tiny body, the wind knocked out of me so much that I could hardly let out a whisper of a cry.  And then he did it again.  And again.  And again.  It felt like a dream.  When I was able to catch my breath, I would scream as hard as I could, hoping someone outside of the house would hear me.  I was scared beyond what I could fathom, and it felt endless.  I had never experienced such darkness in my life.  Every strike was harder than the next.  I could tell his labored grunting with each strike proved how hard he continued to hit.  Thereafter, he asked me to hug him.  I felt weak, yet stiff, resisting further contact from him.  He wrapped his arms around me tightly, forcing me between his legs, pressing me up to his body.  He then whispered that he did this because God would want him to, for not listening to him, and if I continued to disobey him, that God would reject me and my “sins”, and that I would not get in to heaven.  He made it clear not to tell my parents, because he had taken care of the discipline and there was no need to talk about it further.  He also made it clear that if I did tell, my parents would take his side and would be incredibly upset with me as well.  Can you imagine?  At the age of 9, being forced to think that this was your only option to process what had happened, and that there wasn’t a way out?  Most of all, thinking that that these tiny mistakes were not worthy of our safety, or worthy of our parents understanding and love, and most importantly, convincing us we would not be worthy of God’s love if these incredibly minuscule “sins” continued?  Even after I disclosed to my father what had happened to us, and after my father confronted Tom about disciplining us, Tom made it clear to my father that he would not touch us again.  Yet he continued the abuse.  And the abuse grew worse over time.  He lied to my father and mother.  He lied to Wayne and I.  He never apologized for what he had done, and he still has not apologized, and continues to lie to this day. 

Eventually when Tom was outed and after he ran away from Prescott [AZ to Tacoma, WA], for years I would lie awake, breathless at the thought of ever seeing this man again.  He was gone, but the wounds were still open.  For years I had recurring nightmares of him coming to our home late at night and peering in to the window of the room my brother and I shared.  For years my brother and I suffered in silence together, wondering why there wasn’t a threshold of counsel or support for what we, or the others, had gone through.  We, along with the other victims, were never helped.  We were never given any support from the men in ARBCA, and yet Tom was untouchable, given more paths to churches and preaching, teaching in schools, and received nothing more than a slap on the wrist for what he had done.  He was a heartless coward who hid behind his reckless, arrogant and a defensive father [Walt Chantry] who threatened the elders at Miller Valley to back off and shut up about his behavior.  Nothing was ever resolved.  There was no closure.  My parents, as well as the other parents, were given lousy and unsupported options for Tom’s menacing actions towards their children.  They were made to be treated like fools if they chose to report it to law enforcement.  They were bullied, chastised and shushed, and by the time the damage was done, we all felt defeated and hopeless while Tom was essentially let off the hook.  The other victims and I have all carried the weight and burden of his actions towards us for years.  Again, counseling, therapy or anything of the sort was never extended as a viable option to cope with what we had suffered through, but instead made to feel like what the torture we had been through, was an inconvenience and would tarnish the image of ARBCA, and our church. 

His lack of empathy and disregard of what he did to us is appalling.  He is a fraud and a soothsayer.  His self-righteousness and pompous attitude have been applauded by many men within ARBCA, and it’s unnerving that these men choose to protect him instead of innocent children.  What he did to my brother and the other victims is shameless beyond comprehension.  His heart reflects nothing but evil.  I can’t help but think his sole purpose on this earth was to fool many, and take advantage of the young and weak.  I will never give him my forgiveness.  I would never accept an apology from him at this point either - I would never subject myself to that level. 

My biggest fear is that this monster of a human will be released back in to civility, and I can’t shake the feeling that another victim will fall under his grooming tactics again one day.  This is an illness, a mental and evil mindset that never “shuts off”.  He is a textbook pedophile and child abuser through and through.  There is a huge stigma in our society today regarding men (or women) who inflict pain and abuse on young children and young adults, who may only serve a small amount of time for their offenses, who are then released back to the public to attack again.  When will this madness stop?  When will we as a society put an end to this stigma?  How many children and adults will have to live in pain and fear until we cry “enough is enough”?  Where is the accountability?  Where is the responsibility of holding these abusers in the limelight and enforce the punishment they deserve for hurting others?  Yes, this is Tom’s first offense [first criminal conviction].  But I wouldn’t be lying if I said I would feel defeated, undermined, and that the long three years to fight this in court would all be in vain if he were released on probation.  I feel that it would defeat the purpose for what we as the victims have gone through, re-living the agony and embarrassment, and fighting for our truth to no avail.  There was no underlying plot to bring this man down.  There wasn’t a scheme we all planned for the past decade and a half to make up a story to ruin this man’s credibility.  No, instead, he ruined his own credibility as a pastor, as a guardian, as a human being, and we have all suffered at the actions of this man for years after his abuse.  We have all aimlessly wondered around, questioning if he would do more pain and more damage beyond what we knew, and what we had endured.  As a new mother-to-be, it shakes me to my core knowing men like Tom can walk freely in our communities, our neighborhoods, our churches, while they stalk and prey for the next victim.  I can’t even put in to words how I would feel or cope if my own children had to endure what I, my brother, or the other victims experienced.  It sickens me beyond comprehension.  No child deserves what we went through.  It wasn’t just the actions of his physical abuse, but the darkness he brought in to our young lives that blotted and stained our memories forever.  My ultimate plea here is that we as Tom’s victims will be heard, and that he will receive the punishment that he is worthy of.  He has ran long enough, and now this run needs to come to a screeching halt.  We, the victims, wouldn’t have sacrificed over three years of our lives to bring our abuse to light in court, not only so we could receive closure, but especially knowing that Tom will not be put in a position where he will be able to prey on more children in the future.  We wouldn’t have sacrificed traveling to trials, putting our personal lives on hold MANY times, missing work countless times to be present for hearings, conferences, and the 5 week trial, on top of re-living these accounts in court and dredging up deep pain and emotions in front of the defendant, our families, his family, and many others if these stories were fabricated or “falsely” told.  As the victims, we had to live in constant fear, guilt, and anger and have marched silently throughout our lives knowing the harm he inflicted, the years he took away from our families living with the pain he caused, robbing us of healthy growth and trusting others and maintaining strong bonds with our parents, along with the ripple effects of anxiety, depression and shame, that still runs and courses through us to this day.  Today we ask that Tom is judged for his heinous acts towards every victim in this case.  We ask that Tom is held responsible for the years of damage he has done to each victim and our families, and that he will receive the consequences of his actions once and for all. 

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Victim Impact Letter of Wayne Walsh
October 2018 

I’m having a difficult time finding the right words to describe the type of experience I’m feeling, but I’ll try to make this as simple as I can. 

Ten million, five hundred and twelve thousand minutes.  That’s about the approximate amount of minutes that it have passed since I was beaten by a man over twice my own age this very moment I’m writing this letter.  Through all those millions of seconds, minutes, hours and years I never thought I’d have to come face to face with this monster again after being preyed on as a 7 year old boy. 

I had a very good childhood.  My parents did nothing but provide a loving and happy household for my sister and I and anyone that crossed the threshold to our home.  My sister and I were never troubled or spoiled children.  If we were to disobey or make a mistake, my parents would punish accordingly, but it was never with excessive force or with a foreign object.  And if we were to be looked after by a baby sitter, I never remember being punished by any of them.  We knew we didn’t have much as far as new toys growing up so we had our imaginations to fulfill our childhoods with fun and excitement.  My parents both worked fulltime, my mom working as a dental assistant  and my dad working for a title agency and eventually real estate.  But they both worked hard to make a good home for us all, regardless of what income we did or didn’t have.  And a part of the aspect of growing up in a loving home was to spend time with family and making extended family through church.  Growing up living in a Christian household, I was always taught to honor your elders, show respect, listen and have some sort of reverence for those who were in authority, especially by those who were chosen by God to lead His flock.  I was also taught that God was a loving god and his shepherds should be guiding figures to Him and that they were to be loving, patient and fair to God’s chosen. 

As a family, we went to church every Sunday.  My mom played piano and my dad was in the steps of becoming a deacon, a servant and steward to the members of the church and ultimately for God.  My sister and I would attend Sunday School with all the kids of the church while the parents had the adult Sunday School teachings.  As a family and congregation we would then go to Morning Church service and then evenings would consist of Bible study and then Evening Worship.  It was a long Sunday, EVERY Sunday but it was full of life and love.  My parents wanted us to heed Gods word and fellowship with our community and had nothing but the best intentions for our family by attending services.  The church and family we had built with the members of the church was just like any other community, whether it be religious or not.  It was innocent and we had made several friends back then we still call family today. 

When Tom was appointed to replace Bob Selph and be our lead pastor, the church accepted him like anyone else, with open arms and trusted the leaders of ARBCA by allowing him to shepherd the flock.  I don’t remember much of why Bob had to leave but I remember being sad as Bob was almost like a father figure for our church and I truly loved him and his family.  But like I had been taught, I was excited to meet Tom and knew that if Bob and the leaders trusted him, I should trust him as well.  Tom tried to convince everyone around him he was a fun and enjoyable person by bonding with the kids of the church.  He chased and tickled us but after some time I could tell it wasn’t gentle or loving.  It hurt and I wish now I would’ve voiced that I was uncomfortable louder when he would “tickle” me.  It was all a sick ploy into convincing families that he was harmless and well intentioned, by looking like he wanted to befriend the kids of the church.  The families invited him into their homes and welcomed his presence.  He would teach in our homes and bond with the members.  But as soon as he had gained the trust of the families was when he could pin the members he thought might be most weak.  I can honestly say that not one of those members would’ve allowed such heinous acts to happen if they had known sooner that Tom was preying on children to beat for his sick and twisted self pleasure.  Knowing we were well obedient children but timid and fearful, he decided that offering catechism and other scholastic tutoring was necessary for us.  That’s when the beatings began. 

I specifically remember being with Daniel and Jane during that summer [in 1999] and I honestly believe if Jane hadn’t been lumped in with Daniel and I, we would’ve been more physically and emotionally impacted more than we are today.  It began with one tutoring session and he got upset with us and spanked me in front of Daniel and Jane.  I wasn’t a horrible student, maybe had a little confusion with long division, but I was pretty well literate compared to kids my own age.  I was also pretty obedient and wouldn’t purposefully try to cause a stir or trouble in or out of class.  When the beatings happened the first time, I was hurt and confused and thought I had truly done something to upset him, my family or worse God and I felt embarrassed and ashamed.  I told my parents what had happened and my dad confronted Tom.  Tom defended his actions and told my dad he wouldn’t do it again.  Sadly, it wouldn’t be the last time Daniel, Jane, Mark, Mark, Joseph and I were hit or beaten by Tom and I began to see the true spirit of this supposed shepherd.  For what seemed like an eternity, the beatings became more frequent and more physically painful for the duration of that summer. 

My dad would take my sister and I to the parsonage almost every other day during the week for that summer.  Jane and I knew that if we didn’t obey Tom’s list of rules we would be punished, but the standards would change from day to day.  Every time I tried to follow the rules he set one day, it was different the next.  I couldn’t pin point when the beatings would happen, until it was too late and I could see the expression of his face changing.  He would scream at us and slam the dining room table until we would put our drinks on the coasters.  He would drag Daniel or I to the living room to make an example if we didn’t answer a catechism question quickly enough.  He beat me for not wanting to play a board game or smack Daniel if he won a game we had all played, because ultimately Tom was a sore loser.  He hated to be wrong or not win a stupid board game.  It was then I began to see it was for any excuse he made up for the day.  If we slipped up or hadn’t performed to his timing, that was when he would strike us.  Each time harder than the time before to seer [sear] the reminder in our minds that we had no control of the situation.  And after each strike telling us that no one would believe us but especially our parents so it would be useless to tell them.  We would be a disappointment to God because we hadn’t obeyed our pastor.  And after each time we were punished, force to hug him and tell us that he was the only who could really care for us, spiritually and physically, because that’s why he was appointed to be our pastor. 

I was told that my parents, the only ones we as children know to be our sole protection, wouldn’t believe if I cried to them about being beaten with a paddle.  A paddle that our pastor had fashioned himself.  God wouldn’t accept me into heaven because I didn’t listen to my pastor as he screamed at me for intimidation.  That this was a form of punishment by God through Tom for something I HADN’T EVEN DONE.  7 years old and a GROWN MAN wants a hug after telling me my self worth and being isn’t enough for my parents to believe me, because he was God’s interpreter.  And then rubbing his hand across a 7 year olds butt after beating it raw.  I saw the tears of my close friend [Daniel] and sister running down their faces as we saw the pain inflicted on each other.  He made us watch what would become of us if we had told a single soul what we would have to endure for what seemed like an eternity.  I was dragged from the parsonage, across the dirt parking lot to the office of the church, a space I was taught was holy.  My bottom smacked so hard I could barely breath.  His hand running over my bottom over and over as tears streamed down my face.  Grabbing my body [genitalia] and embracing me to hug him with my pants down my ankles.  I would come back from the church to the parsonage to complete silence and seeing the look of utter shock and fear in your sister and friends’ eyes.  That summer was a living nightmare, a nightmare so twisted, I wouldn’t wish anyone to live through, yet here I am telling the truth of that nightmare I physically lived. 

After those incidents of the summer, I sat at the dining room table with the family for dinner.  I don’t remember how the conversation began, but I remember the look of terror my parents had as my sister and I confessed to the abuse.  We sobbed, asking my parents to please not punish us for disobeying Tom.  We begged not to return to the parsonage for tutoring because it caused so much fear in us.  My mom embraced us both and my dad left the house to confront Tom.  I don’t know what was said but I know my dad would do anything to fight for our family.  He would do anything he could to try to end the madness.  Once Tom had been confronted, he hid in the parsonage and when he thought no one was watching, left. 

He used his best skills to keep it hidden from my parents, the elders and congregation and eventually many others in separate churches; lying, intimidation, manipulation and finally like any other coward, running away. 

He lied to my parents by telling them he would never touch us again after I had told my dad about the first beating.  He lied to the elders and church when he was confronted.  He berated my parents and bullied them along with the other victims, parents and members, the families that invited him in to shepherd and lead.  My parents and the other victimized families were soon bullied and berated by the leaders of ARBCA into not telling authorities once he escaped.  They were made to be idiots and that we, the victims, had fabricated a story because we “didn’t like Tom”.  Why would children create such a lie about someone in authority?  If we created a lie as big as this, why would Tom run away?  We were the ones who had been lied to.  I remember being told everything would be “taken care of”.  Nothing was to fear because he wouldn’t be around kids or wouldn’t be pastoring again.  We were led to believe that he would be held accountable of his actions by the very organization that had appointed him to the position he held.  No offer of counseling to the victims, no sympathy or love in return to those who were left broken. Our church family, emotionally wrecked, was given no help to heal or mend the pieces back together.  We were left in an emotional prison while Tom got away and to what surprise, was teaching and Pastoring once again. 

I continued to live in that confusion and embarrassment for many years until I could compartmentalize the actions and moments of being beaten by him.  I still can’t eat a lemon square, the one baked good Tom always wanted made by my mom when he would come over to our home for dinner.  It took several years to finally understand that I wasn’t the one in the wrong.  I had to remind myself that I was a CHILD when I was beaten by Tom.  I was beaten for not putting a drink on a coaster.  I was a 7 year old boy, being beaten with a paddle he made.  What child deserves that?  What child would fabricate or lie about something such as this?  I had to remind myself, I didn’t do anything to deserve treatment like this.  My own parents wouldn’t dare think to punish my sister or I this way.  As I grew older it was hard not to lost trust in my parents for not being able to protect my sister and I.  But like any other victim of abuse, I pushed the thoughts to the back of my mind so I could somehow move on.  I tried to live a normal life, despite not having any counseling or guidance after those events. 

About 3 years ago when I got the call from detective Jessica [Barnard-Belling], I didn’t want to admit those events took place over the phone.  I mumbled out of fear that somehow he was on the other line, listening in on what I was saying aloud.  I somehow felt transported to being 7 years old again, but in a 24 year olds body.  I suffered from depression and sudden mood swings when I think of him and had no resources for therapy.  I began to run away from situations when the thought of confronting him crossed my mind.  I spent the last 3 years causing self-inflicting damage by turning to drugs and alcohol abuse as a coping mechanism.  I thought it was the only to escape my pain and suffering.  I sobbed on the phone to my sister and parents feeling helpless and alone knowing that he was still out there able to hurt someone else just like he hurt me.  Not just physically, but the emotionally and mentally as well.  To make children feel helpless and alone.  To make them feel that their loved ones wouldn’t care or listen to them, because ultimately they would choose to believe him first.  I had to pick up the pieces again, over and over each and every day and remind myself that I am worth something.  I had to remind myself that my family has and always will love me, despite what Tom had told me.  There were days that I’d hope to die so I wouldn’t have to face him again.  I felt like a failure even if we had gone to court, because why would anyone listen to me?  With time and the help of my loved ones I know that my life is short and that I can’t let Tom’s abusive behavior of my past affect what is left of my future.  And as someone who had to relive that trauma, it’s my duty to share my story to prevent this from happening again by Tom. 

To think that this monster can get off so easily makes my stomach churn.  To go through the years of a mental and emotional prison myself and the other victims have had to go through is torture enough.  All of our pain and emotional sorrows to be smeared once again, just now as adults, I have no words for it.  To come so close to having justice after nearly twenty years of not having justification and then to have it dissipate is unfathomable.  The victims that needed the justification the most, Joseph, Mark and Daniel, what about them?  They need to know just as the rest of us that TOM CAN’T WALK FROM THIS AGAIN.  His actions have caught him red handed and he needs to be held accountable.  And if you release him on probation, what does this say?  Are we going to let more child abusers walk freely?  Why don’t we just let them all free?  What’s the point?  Why should we even bother?  How many more kids will be hurt, physically, mentally, emotionally?  How many more will be haunted by Tom’s words and actions?  How many more kids will question the trust of their parents when Tom tells them they won’t be heard or believed?  How many more have to suffer if he gets away with these actions?  These questions gave me nightmares for the last 3 years.  I’m tired of living in that constant state of fear, crying myself to sleep wondering how many others have suffered what I have suffered by Tom.  Actions deserve consequence, especially actions as heinous as his. 

This has to end, here and now.  We have sacrificed more emotional labor, time that we didn’t necessarily have to spare and years of silence long enough.  And we have continued to do so but more publicly by sharing our experiences in court.  We have dealt with the pushback [delay] of Tom’s case on MORE than one occasion.  We have had to sacrifice more time than we wanted for this trial, canceled important engagements, traveled several times for testimonies and hearings.  We’ve dug up more emotionally  painful moments than one can count and if that is wiped away today, I hope it all for nothing. 

As a victim of this case, I ask you, to please consider the emotional damage this will have on me along with the other victims and their families.  Tom needs to be held accountable for his actions.  The actions provided may be written as a first offense [first criminal conviction], but we know full well this wasn’t his first act and it won’t be his last.  He has proven that he will lie, berate, belittle and manipulate the truth until he is let go.  And as a pastor, a leader of God’s word, someone who is supposed to speak truth, Tom has failed to do just that. 

He failed his church.  He failed his congregation.  He failed his family.  He failed himself.  He failed God.  He failed.  No apologies to the victims; Daniel, Mark, Joseph, Jane, Mitch and I [the six victims from four families].  He had no intention of apologizing.  The whole purpose of being a leader is to show how to lead by example.  If there was remorse or change of heart, he has not shown that.  It’s time to accept that Tom will change for no one except himself and to his own selfish gain.  And it’s time to change that course, once and for all.  As a victim, it’s time for US to be listened to.  It’s time for Tom to pay the consequences for all the years of turmoil he brought to us as individuals.  We have been silenced long enough.  It’s time for us as the victims to live freely by having closure and leaving the emotional baggage we have had to carry for almost 20 years.  I don’t want to wait another ten million, five hundred and twelve thousand minutes for justification [i.e., righteous vindication].  We as victims can’t ask for time lost, but we can ask for justice and we deserve at least that much.  Our time, our lives and our future depends on it. 

To end this letter, I quote Judith Lewis Herman

- “In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting.  If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim.  If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure no one listens.” 

To those listening and with the power to do something about it, I hope they make the right choice. 

## 

October 16, 2018 

Honorable Judge Astrowsky
c/o Tony Camacho
Yavapai County Court
Prescott, AZ 86303 

Re: Tom Chantry 

Judge Astrowsky, 

I am writing this letter to you as requested, by Susan Easer, attorney for Yavapai County Attorney’s office. 

Patty, my wife and I, are parents to Jane, and Wayne Walsh

When this case, then trial started, Patty and I have had to go through what happened over 19 years ago, at a church we used to attend and serve, Miller Valley Baptist Church, 815 Whipple St., Prescott, AZ 86301. 

Patty and I started attending sometime in the mid to late 1980’s.  The pastor and his wife were, Bob and Kathy Selph.  They moved to take over a church in South Carolina in the spring of 1995.  We were sent a young man, Tom Chantry as an interim pastor in the summer of 1995. 

When Tom came to Miller Valley Baptist Church, everyone extended themselves to welcome this young man into their homes, tried to be as friendly as possible to him, give him respect for his position, and even prayed for him to grow into a responsible young man and pastor. 

Tom was never a pastor, or was he ever going to be a pastor.  A pastor is a man who cares for his flock, like Jesus’ example of being a shepherd to the flock of sheep.  We endured his sorry behavior, his temper, his bullying of people, mostly because of his father being Walt Chantry, who was very respected in the ARBCA and RBMS (Reform Baptist Mission Service).  Tom was capable of being a very good preacher, like his father.  But we made a mistake.  We hired a wolf, not a shepherd.  The good people of Miller Valley Baptist tried their best with this man.  We were ignorant of what and who he really was.  I do not still know what happened to Tom to make him this way, but from what I have recently learned by working at an Episcopal Church camp, Chapel Rock, here in Prescott, and having to take their annual required training on child molesters, just makes me realize that this man Miller Valley Baptist hired and even ordained, was the classic pedophile from the  beginning.  He didn’t come to Miller Valley Baptist as a good young man. 

No good young man who is starting in the pastorate, punches a church member’s son in the face [Mitch Jones], for having a water balloon thrown at him, at a picnic [July 4, 1995], and then runs into his newly bestowed upon residence (parsonage).  No good young man who is starting in the pastorate [Christmas 1995], violates his church members authority of father and mother, to discipline a young boy [Mark Jones over Christmas break 1995] to the point of hurting the boy, and then makes it up to the young boy by being unnaturally endearing [rubbing his buttocks & sexually molesting] to the young boy after the hurt was administered.  That is brutality at the least.  

The first situation happened within days [three weeks, the second situation within seven months] of coming to Prescott to be an interim Pastor, with high recommendation.  Either Bob Selph doesn’t really know Tom Chantry or Bob felt he couldn’t leave his flock with no one.  And Tom was better than no one.  Well he wasn’t and Miller Valley Baptist would have been better if Tom Chantry never came to Prescott.  

We at the church trusted Bob Selph tremendously and felt if he recommended Tom, Tom must have had something in him that would be redeeming.  I will give him that he is intelligent, and a good speaker, maybe even a good preacher.  But never was he a pastor, and we at Miller Valley gave him what he didn’t deserve.  Love, care, respect, a place to live, a position of responsibility, and even a salary. 

A lot could be overlooked if he would have kept to himself [i.e. did not abuse children], and he was forgiven, over and over, without asking for forgiveness, and without deserving the kindness that was extended repeatedly. 

Judge, you heard about how Miller Valley Baptist Church members tried to be just a good congregation and be supportive.  We were duped, and we didn’t gossip, or talk to put 2 and 2 together because we were not talking to each other.  We, in our error, were giving a pass to someone who didn’t deserve the grace that was bestowed upon him.  Otherwise he would not have been ordained at Miller Valley, hired by Miller Valley, or supported and respected at Miller Valley Baptist Church. 

If Patty and I and Luke and Lois Jones would have talked we wouldn’t have let our kids be in Tom’s care.  Tom manipulated and played us all for stupid.  Which in some ways, we were.  But only because we were trying to be respectful of his position, and care for him because it was the right thing to do. 

Looking back Tom was looking for a place like Miller Valley Baptist more than any of us knew. 

He found a church, it could have been a camp, or a school, where he could make people think he was there to teach them.  A thing or two.  These manipulations of people and the opportunities we gave him were disastrous.  We gave our children, unknowingly, over to a pedophile.  We now know it, so do you. 

What happened to our children Jane and Wayne, Robert and Connie’s son Daniel, Peter and Harriet’s son Joseph, Luke and Lois’ sons Mark and Mitch, was as parents, a travesty.  We as parents will always be forever sorry and full of regret.  We thought Tom Chantry, surely would take care of our children and treat them like we would expect anyone, that we would leave our children with.  And even more so to entrust, a Pastor, to care for our children.  Not a bully.  Not an abuser.  Not a pedophile.  Not a deceiver. 

These children were 3 to 4, for Joseph, and 8 to 13 (I can’t remember what Mark’s age was in 1995) for Jane, Wayne, Daniel, Mark, and Mitch, when Tom Chantry started taking care of them. 

He cannot be given probation for what our children, now grown up, have had to live through. 

For the past 20 plus or minus years our children have had to stuff their feelings and emotions, for all this garbage that had happened to them, by this man who was supposed to care for them and especially for their souls.  He doesn’t care now and he didn’t care then.  This trial and investigation has brought up memories of pain, suffering, and brutality.  You have heard what they can remember and somewhat tell about.  Especially when they were threatened by Tom, that he was keeper of their souls.  Who does that?  Especially a Pastor doesn’t act that way.  Unless you are not what you say you are. 

Do not let him get away with what he has taken away from these children, now adults.  Only one now goes to church.  We parent are even struggling with our Christian walk.  I am not going to bring up what they have gone through because of being mistreated in the ways of manipulation, lies, terror, fear, trepidation, pain, suffering, sexual abuse. 

It is time for him to be sentenced, for all of those things done to young children.  Not to be given another pass because he is not a good man.  Regardless of not having any priors.  These things he did were priors.  He just did not do them once.  He did them over, and over, and over, and over. 

Well that is enough.  The jury came to their conclusions, and whether I agree with it or not, that was the verdict.  But please consider the letters and the previous testimonies and the attitudes, and behaviors, of our children and us as parents.  If we all had known that this had gone on then, we would not be here today asking you to deal with this situation.  It would have been dealt with while it was fresh in everyone’s minds.  He has had the advantage of time, and we have suffered for it. 

Thank you for reading this, 

Tyler Walsh, father of Jane and Wayne, husband of Patty 

##

October 18, 2018

Dear Judge Astrowsky,

I am the mother of Jane and Wayne Walsh.  After learning this past week that you are considering a Probation sentence for Tom Chantry, I feel I must speak up alongside of my children.  I feel deeply troubled that probation would even be a consideration for this man. 

I feel that given probation, he will continue to have a total disregard for his actions and the severity of what he has done, just like the total disregard he has shown all along, to the people he has hurt. 

I feel that one year in jail is a small price to pay after being convicted on assault charges and abusing young children.  It is a very small price for him to have to pay, especially after these children bared their souls only to have a hung jury [Chantry will be retried on four counts of molestation] declared other than the assault verdict. 

It is with an earnest plea, that you would truly take into consideration everything that you heard AND saw of him during this trial and seriously reconsider the probation deal.  This man needs to serve his time in jail. 

After all, it’s these children who are the ones that are still REALLY paying the price. 

Sincerely,

Patty Walsh 

## 

This is an article covering the Judge’s ruling which excluded jail time for the two counts of aggravated assault.  I’ve added notes in brackets [ ]. 

The Daily Courier
Former Prescott pastor receives three years probation for aggravated assault charges
Expected to return to court for new charges
By Max Efrein
October 12, 2018 12:57 p.m.

https://www.verdenews.com/news/2018/oct/22/former-prescott-pastor-receives-three-years-probat/

PRESCOTT -- A former Prescott pastor has been sentenced to three years of supervised probation for two counts of aggravated assault. 

Thomas Chantry, 48, was convicted of the two class 6 felonies in August after a five-week trial.  The charges stem from incidents of Chantry disciplining children of the families in his congregation at Miller Valley Baptist Church so severely he left bruises and marks.  These incidents took place between 18 and 23 years ago. 

The sentencing was imposed by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Bradley Astrowsky at Yavapai County Superior Court’s Prescott location on Friday, Oct. 19. 

Both the prosecution, headed by Yavapai County Deputy Attorney Susan Eazer, and the adult victims Chantry was found to have assaulted when they were children, were disappointed by the sentencing, having requested that Chantry receive prison time. 

A maximum of two years in prison could have been imposed if the judge found the charges to be aggravated (exceptionally egregious).  Considering all factors surrounding the case, Astrowsky chose not to increase the severity of the charges. 

“When the court has someone who is convicted of two class 6 felonies [for aggravated assault] with no prior criminal history, I couldn’t think of an occasion of which, under such circumstances, I’ve seen, either as a practitioner [former prosecutor] or as a judge, a prison term imposed,” Astrowsky said. 

He also considered imposing an initial jail term, but even that didn’t make sense to him.

“The problem with imposing an initial jail term – I’m letting you in to my thought process here – is that [Chantry’s] already in custody,” Astrowsky said. 

[Note: Chantry is “already in custody” (jail) for the new charges against him but not for the old charges that led to his conviction on the two counts of aggravated assault.]    

Only one year of initial jail time can be imposed for each count, Astrowsky added.  Some or all of that time can be used upfront or as a potential punishment if Chantry violates his probation.  Since Chantry is already in custody on a $1 million cash bond for another case, it would be a waste of that potential punishment by starting to use that jail time now, he explained. 

[Note: The Judge reasons he can use the two years of jail time later if Chantry violates his probation.  Since he is already in jail on new charges with a million dollar bond that he apparently cannot pay, why apply jail time from the current case.  I don’t agree with his argument because the bond could be reduced and paid and then Chantry is out of jail.  Furthermore, I trust Chantry will be found guilty in a future trial (or trials) and sentenced for life but that is never guaranteed.  I’d rather him serving all the time possible now.] 

“The likelihood of (the $1 million bond) being posted, I trust, is not significant, because he would have posted bail already,” Astrowsky said. 

[Note: An arrest warrant was issued on September 7, 2018.  Chantry surrendered on September 10 and was put in jail where he remains.  He has been there for over 3 months.  He has to come up with one million dollars in cash to get out.  There will be a bond hearing in the next month or so; where his new lawyer will try to get the bond amount reduced.  

I should add that Chantry also spent 4 months in jail for his first arrest while awaiting trial.  He got out once on a 100k bond in WI and then he got out a second time on at 250k bond in AZ.  Altogether, Chantry has been jailed three times for a total incarceration of 7 months to date.] 

In addition to the probation, Chantry must serve 100 hours of community service; he may not interact with children other than his own unless under supervision; and must undergo a psychological evaluation and follow whatever recommendations come from that. 

“I don’t want to play psychologist from the bench, but there may be some issues that you might need help with,” the judge said to Chantry. 

[Note: Astrowsky knows Chantry is a sexual sadist and sociopathic liar but can’t say so from the bench.  No amount of counseling will help Chantry.  He is a hardened reprobate who stands under the wrath of God.] 

MORE CHARGES TO BE TRIED 

Less than a month after Chantry’s trial concluded [August 21, 2018], nine new felony charges were filed against him and he was ordered to be held at the Yavapai County jail on a $1 million bond, where he currently remains. 

[Note: A Grand Jury indicted Chantry on September 7, 2018 and a national arrest warrant was issued.  He surrender on September 10 and was immediately put in jail.  A date for the trial has not yet be set.  The nine new counts pertaining to crimes against Daniel Laver include four for sexual molestation, four for aggravated assault with sexual motivation, and one for child abuse.] 

During Friday’s sentencing, Astrowsky made reference to two cases surrounding these charges [13 counts] and said it’s unclear whether or not they will be consolidated. 

“I think these cases are connected,” Astrowsky said. “They may be tried together, but that remains to be seen.” 

[Note: The first (old) case concerns Mark Jones.  The second (new) case concerns Daniel Laver.  During Chantry’s first trial in July-August 2018, the jury “hung” 11 to 1 on four counts of sexual molestation.  One juror refused to find Chantry guilty.  It was reported the juror was tainted.  Those four counts for sexual molestation concerning Mark Jones will be retried.]          

“I’m going to file a motion that the cases should be consolidated and – obviously for convenience purposes, if nothing else – should remain in Yavapai County, where we have a courtroom for trial at some point sooner than in two years,” Easer said. 

[Note: Eazer would like one trial for the combined 13 counts.  “Two years” is a reference to how long it took for the first trial to start.  Chantry was originally arrested in July 2016.  The trial began in July 2018.] 

Chantry’s defense attorney, John Sears said there are a number of complicating factors that may alter the way Chantry’s cases are handled moving forward.  First of all, he will no longer serve as Chantry’s attorney because he will be retiring.  A replacement defense attorney has already been unofficially selected and is expected to make his first appearance at Chantry’s next status conference, which is set for Nov. 14. 

Another complication is that the replacement attorney has already requested to disqualify the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office from working on the case any further.  “That motion has just been filed on Tuesday of this week, but hasn’t been briefed yet,” Sears said. 

Once some of these details have been ironed out, Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Patricia Trebesch will be the judge overseeing Chantry’s new charges and trial, Eazer said. 

[Note: Judge Astrowsky was a visiting judge from Maricopa County for the first trial.  Judge Trebesch is from Yavapai County where the crimes occurred.] 

Follow Max Efrein on Twitter @mefrein, email him at mefrein@prescottaz.com or call him at 928-445-3333 ext. 1105. 

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