RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Richmond Outreach Center (ROC) Executive Pastor Jason Helmlinger had little to say leaving the Manchester Courthouse in south Richmond Monday morning. Inside, he told Judge Phillip Hairston that he was hiring Glen Allen attorney David Carlson to defend him against charges of making a threat over the phone.
Carlson is also representing ROC Senior Pastor Geronimo Aguillar on charges that he sexually abused two girls in Fort Worth, Texas in the 1990s.
Former ROC member Allen Caldwell says he was forced out of the church three years ago because of a ministry dispute. He alleges that a month ago, Pastor Helmlinger called him racially hurtful names and threatened him for criticizing Aguillar, known at the ROC as Pastor G.
Caldwell says he could have let the alleged phone call go, but decided to stand up for others who may feel "threatened by the size of the ROC" and called police
"Too many people has stood by and said, know what? I'm not going to say anything; afraid to say anything," Caldwell said. "Somebody has to stand up for other people."
We tried to ask Pastor Helmlinger about the alleged phone call, but he sped away from the courthouse and our cameras. He has "voluntarily removed himself from his pastoral duties," according to the Board of Directors of the Richmond Outreach Center.
Helmlinger will back in court with his lawyer Jun 21.