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Dark web trafficking scandal rocks Georgia megachurch

A prominent Georgia megachurch, Rock Springs Church, is facing accusations of lacking transparency in its handling of a former youth volunteer, Kelly Garrett Ivey. Ivey has been charged with attempting to traffic a 16-year-old on the dark web. What’s concerning is that church members were unaware of these charges until they were reported by a local newspaper. The church failed to make any official announcements.

While the church’s administrative pastor expressed sympathy for Ivey and highlighted the principle of “innocent until proven guilty,” some critics argue that there should be more focus on the victim and the importance of child safety.

Additionally, this incident has raised questions about a potential pattern of concealing wrongdoings within the church. Two other staff members have faced arrests in recent years, and church members feel that the church has not been forthcoming about these incidents.

Critics suggest that the church’s desire to maintain its reputation as a megachurch may have overshadowed its commitment to transparency and accountability in this situation.

The Roys Report writes:

Records obtained by The Roys Report (TRR) show that on June 30, authorities arrested Kelly Garrett Ivey—a former youth volunteer at Rock Springs Church in Milner, Ga.—and charged him with child cruelty and kidnapping. And last Monday, a grand jury indicted Ivey, 41, on first and second-degree charges of cruelty to children, trafficking, and three counts of criminal attempt to commit a felony, including kidnapping.

Yet, members of Rock Springs said they just learned of the charges against Ivey last week, when a local newspaper, The Monroe County Reporter, published a story. They added that the multi-site Rock Springs Church and its affiliated school, Rock Springs Christian Academy, where Ivey also volunteered, didn’t publish any announcement about Ivey’s arrest.

According to The Reporter, arrest warrants stated that Ivey was trying to sell information about a 16-year-old’s home address and places she regularly frequented, so she could be abducted or harmed.

Atlanta News First reported that the warrants also stated that Ivey advertised the “virgin female” on “Slave Bay”—a website advertising unclothed women on the dark web. The news report added that in July, a judge denied bond and said Ivey “posed a significant danger.”

A mother named Brandy Brown questioned on a local Facebook group why the church hadn’t notified her, even though her daughter had attended the academy and church youth program while Ivey was volunteering there. 

“Why wasn’t an announcement made?” she wrote. “If it is to protect themselves, why not say, ‘Allegedly this happened, but to ensure the safety of our members and youth, please talk to your children about this incident, and if you learn anything you are concerned with, please notify the police as this is an ongoing investigation.’”

Read the full article.

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