Several months ago I did something I rarely do, I turned on the news. I prefer to live in my little bubble where the world is sunshine and roses, so typically when my husband turns it on I slip away to my room with a good book. But one particular night I stayed and watched, and learned of a local high school student who’d been charged with sexually assaulting two four year-old boys in my city. It’s heartbreaking, but its not unusual to hear of pedophiles being convicted…another reason I steer away from the news.
But there was something different about this particular story. A group of about 100 or so people, mostly high school students themselves, were gathering at the school of the accused, Greg Kelley. The anger and passion I saw in their faces and heard in their voices was something you’d naturally expect in a child molestation case, however, the anger wasn’t directed at Greg Kelley. The anger was directed at those who “unjustly accused him” — the children. I was shocked, and for a moment it was as if the television had sucked the breath from my lungs. How was it possible that so many could doubt these children, and how could they be so cruel to doubt them so publicly?
From that night on I watched the news and began following the social media sites, silently begging this public charade to end for the sake of these families. But that didn’t happen. Through the trial, the conviction, and the sentencing agreement where the felon, Greg Kelley, willingly agreed to forego any right to appeal, I watched this group grow. They held fundraisers and festivals, all the while vowing to free the man that was proven to be guilty by a jury of twelve of his peers of super aggravated sexual assault. To this date the movement has evolved into what many agree is a cultish-nature and frankly their behavior is quite scary.
Eventually when I could no longer remain silent, I spoke out on the Justice Served (JS) Facebook page led and managed by Doug Douglas (you’ll hear more about JS in a later blog). After I post this blog it’s likely my posts will no longer be available as the Justice Served’s counterpart page, GRKFoundation (GRKF) led by Jake Brydon, has promptly deleted every comment I’ve posted…within minutes…and I am now blocked from posting at all. The leader does not want his followers to see any information contradictory to his. In other words, he does not want their minds muddled with the truth.
There has been lots of false information given by JS and GRKF, but each person who’s attempted to provide accurate information gets deleted and blocked. As I’ve said, they refuse to hear the truth and continue to spread false information. So I approached Chief Mannix of the Cedar Park Police and requested a meeting with someone on his staff who could provide us with the facts that might help put an end to the fight to free a convicted child rapist and allow the families of these sweet little boys to live in peace. Chief Mannix agreed to meet with me personally and even invited Sgt. Dailey, a detective at the time and the one who led the investigation of Kelley.
My daughter, a criminal justice major, and I met with these two men for an hour and a half on Monday, December 15, 2014. I can say with 100 percent certainty that these two are honest, hard-working men that serve our community with passion and compassion. They answered every question I had without batting an eye and I am very grateful to them for what they do for our city, and especially what they’ve done for the families of these little survivors.
What follows in this blog are the facts. Let me say that a little more clearly…ahem…the F A C T S of this case. At times I may throw in my opinion but you can be sure it will be clearly marked as such. Some of the information I will provide you was given to me verbally, and I will be sending Chief Mannix a link to this blog, asking him to correct me if I mis-quote or have misunderstood any of the information I post here.
I believe the most telling and compelling argument against the GRKF and JS movement’s motives to seek real justice will be the actual email documentation between those individuals and Chief Mannix. I will be posting those emails legally and with permission from the Chief of Police. This is public information so to those who are angered by it’s release, please save the word, “slander” for someone else.
Let me give you a little background information first. You should know that the leader of the GRKF is a man by the name of Jake Brydon. Jake has admitted on several occasions to never having known Greg Kelley before his arrest. He heard about the case, felt a little tug at some part of his brain, and decided to step up and be the spokesperson. These are facts: Jake Brydon is a youth pastor, according to what he has said, has recruited mostly high school children for this effort, and is ultimately fighting against a child’s right to have his/her eyewitness testimony allowed as solid evidence in a court of law.
The main argument of this movement has and continues to be the fact that this group does not believe the four year-old child’s outcry should be enough to convict. Oh, they have other issues too, for example even though both children in this case clearly identified Greg and both said they were in Greg’s room (facts I’ve confirmed with Chief Mannix and Sgt. Dailey), they stand firm that it could have been Bobby, or Joe (names made up to protect the real innocent) or one of the other boys in the house not named Greg, even though Greg was the only name the children said, and they believe these other boys not named Greg should have been questioned on the off-chance that they are the real Greg that the boys meant when they said Greg, even though there’s only one real Greg in the house, and both boys knew him very well. Are you following this?
This movement also believes the investigation was flawed because Greg himself (the real Greg, not the other Gregs) was not questioned, and they ignore the facts that are repeatedly provided to them and that’s that Greg Kelley refused to be questioned, which is his legal right. And because the Cedar Park Police Department respected Greg Kelley’s legal right to refuse to be questioned, Jake Brydon, GRKF and JS launched a campaign to have Detective Dailey fired. This will be addressed in a future blog, along with email documentation.
If the page does not go private, you can watch Jake Brydon’s videos and read comments for yourself here. If the page does go private, I’ll consider this blog a success.
In July of 2014, shortly after Kelley’s conviction, Jake Brydon organized a fundraiser festival to raise money for a new defense, despite the fact that Kelley had agreed to waive his right to an appeal as part of a sentencing agreement that he asked for. This fundraiser was to be held in the Generations Church campus, pastored by Jake’s father, Bob Brydon. Upon hearing this festival was going to be held in such a public way, and a convicted child molester was being supported by a local church, members of the community became concerned. Chief Mannix received a few phone calls regarding the inappropriateness of this activity and, as a courtesy, he emailed Pastor Bob Brydon with these concerns. That email follows:
From: Generations Church [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2014 3:38 PM To: email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: FW: Greg Kelley Case Pastor Bob- Please see below. From: Sean Mannix [mailto:Sean.Mannix@cedarparktexas.gov] Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2014 3:28 PM To: 'email@example.com' Cc: COMMANDSTAFF Subject: Greg Kelley Case Pastor Brydon, I hope this email finds you well. I normally do not reach out to folks after a case has been adjudicated, to clarify the facts of the case, because the verdict is usually the end of the debate. I have heard from a few members of Generations Church that seemed confused and even angry that the church has opened its grounds to an upcoming event for Mr. Kelley and wanted to register that as individual members they disagree with the decision and the message. I let them know that I fully support the group's right to protected speech and your right to open the grounds for their assembly. However, as a courtesy, I did want to reach out to give you access to meet with me with any questions you may have about the facts associated with the case. There was much more to the trial than the account of the newspaper that were not reported on during the trial. I would like to give you access to further information that may help you speak with knowledge of the case when approached by members of your congregation. I just read an article in the San Antonio paper in which Jake was quoted as the family spokesperson for the Kelley's and I admire his positive energy and spirit, and I do not seek to change anybody's mind in their beliefs, while personally believing that the system did work in this case. In any case, if you have any questions I would welcome the opportunity to visit with you. If not, maybe our paths will cross on other issues in our community. Thanks for all you do and God bless. Sean M. Mannix Chief of Police Cedar Park Police Department 512-260-4600
Pastor Brydon, however, took somewhat of a defensive approach in his response, calling the community concerns “backlash” against his church. He admits in his response that he does not have all the facts, and very subtly implies that the case was not properly investigated. He even makes an obvious reference to the Michael Morton case, of which we will hear repeated so many times in the coming weeks we will want to bang our heads against a brick wall.<–opinion Ultimately, Pastor Brydon does not take the advice of the Chief of Police and “respectfully” chooses to hold the event despite the clear message he is sending to the community and the upset that he’s been warned it will cause. I mean it was a “peaceful” assembly, so why should a church supporting a convicted child molester be upsetting?
From: Pastor Bob Brydon [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Friday, August 01, 2014 8:46 PM To: Sean Mannix Subject: REPLY TO YOUR LETTER Hello Chief Mannix, Thank you for writing and reaching out to me. It's encouraging to hear your concerns for making sure everything possible gets done to have the whole truth be revealed in this case, since so many feel like it wasn't. I understand the challenge of reconciling all the different views and positions related to this case...I've been in ministry leadership for over 20 years and leading a non-denominational church is very similar, as you know from the few members that have contacted you with differing views. My decision to let the FFGK group use our church for their event was from the "Good Neighbor" | "Good Samaritan" point of view. Good people, fighting for a good cause (justice), in a peaceful manner, who asked if they could use our church campus to host an outdoor concert and BBQ fundraiser for the Kelley family. We have 33 acres and plenty of parking, and I know several of the FFGK leaders from our kids growing up together in the Leander community and them knowing I'm a pastor of a local church. And I appreciate you affirming that in your letter to me. However, I'm surprised at the "backlash" our church is getting for allowing them to do that (freedom of speech and assembly). Our church did not start this campaign, nor has our church taken a position for either side since we don't have all the facts. What we have taken a position on is "wanting to know the whole truth and nothing but the truth" for the sake of both families involved. Since the trial ended, I think there is now admission from people involved in this case that that did not happen to the fullest extent, and it's now Mr. Hampton's job to prove that. My only wish is that the other powers-at-be (whoever that may be) would have admitted that publicly and led the fight of "getting it right" IF it wasn't done right/the best way possible the first time. We all make mistakes, overlook things, and fall short of doing our best. And I'm thankful that we serve a God who gives us "second-chances" to redeem ourselves when we mess up. Everybody I've asked this question to answers "YES": If it was you, or your son, or your brother who you feel got wrongly convicted because evidence was missed or not presented, evidence that could prove their innocence, wouldn't you want a group of friends and family fighting for you? In my heart, I can't answer "YES" and then turn my back on helping them because of the "backlash" I might get for doing so...that's being a "Good Neighbor"! We are NOT FOR setting "child-molesters" free, but we are also NOT FOR getting it wrong, and then NOT CARING to get it right, and possibly leaving an innocent man behind bars for 25 years. That has happened in this county more than once, and it's "opened that door of possibility" once again in this case. Our church has reached out and helped this community in different ways over the past 10 years (including the CP Police Blue Santa Program, the Williamson County CASA Program, Hill Country Community Ministries, Breath Of Life Maternity Ministry, and various other community outreaches) and we have a "good reputation" for loving God and serving people. And we will continue being the church God has called us to be regardless of how this issue is resolved. I look forward to continuing a good relationship with you and your force, and I thank you greatly for putting your lives on the line to protect our community. Respectfully, Pastor Bob Brydon Generations Church [Signature Bar]
Chief Mannix responds to Brydon and offers “any additional information that would assist” in his congregation’s inquiries. His offer ultimately was refused and Pastor Brydon, who admitted he did not know the facts, chose instead to continue fighting a fight for a child rapist without the facts. Facts are, after all, just useless bits of trivia, completely irrelevant to guilt or innocence. <–satirical opinion
I currently only have a hard-copy of this email and will paste in original tomorrow when I receive it from Chief Mannix. For now I’ll type off the hard-copy:
From: Sean Mannix
Sent: Friday, August 01, 2014 11:39 PM
To: Pastor Bob Brydon
Subject: Re: REPLY TO YOUR LETTER
Thanks for your thoughtful reply. We are absolutely on the same page that the whole truth be revealed in this case and that it is appropriate to let all aspects of the justice system run its course, including the work of Mr. Hampton.
Please do not feel that your members are beating down my door, as I have heard the concerns of two to this point.
Again, if ever you need additional information that would assist in your congregation’s inquiries, I stand ready to assist.
If there is ever anything you need from the CPPD please feel free to contact me directly.
Chief of Police
Cedar Park Police Department
The festival was held, money was raised, and a GoFundMe account started on behalf of Greg Kelley as well. Eventually the GoFundMe campaign was removed as it is in clear violation to raise money for convicted sex offenders. Jake Brydon, Pastor Bob Brydon’s son, became more vocal about this case, continuing to publicize his outrage over the conviction based on “the word of a child,” and continuing to re-victimize these poor children and their families.
I’m going to close this blog for tonight and pick up again tomorrow with email exchanges between Chief Mannix and Jake Brydon and Chief Mannix and Bob Brydon. The emails will clearly show Jake’s reactionary behavior. His threats toward the Chief (not violent) are blatant and egotistical. But aside from that, what I find completely baffling throughout this entire thing is that the leaders of this ridiculous movement continually refuse to be informed about the true facts of this case. I’m not leading a movement to free a child rapist and yet me, just a mom in the community, took the time to meet with the Chief of Police and the Detective who conducted the investigation to learn the true facts, and the leaders of a movement where they’ve raised thousands of dollars to pay for legal fees for this same man refuse to do that. What sense does that make?
Are you blindly following this cult without the real facts? Have you heard details regarding the child testimony? Have you seen the fact sheet Chief Mannix submitted to Justice Served (Doug Douglas) which clearly explains EVERY issue this movement has with the case? There are over 4,000 clicks on the GRKF Facebook page, with realistically about 75-100 true active participants. If you are one of them, stop letting this cult shield you from the truth. Seek the truth for yourself and read closely the emails that I will post here. Your leaders are not honest and the man you seek to free from prison sexually abused two little boys in an absolutely horrible way. I haven’t decided yet whether or not I’m going to share details of the rapes, but you must trust me, it’s despicable.
Go unlike the GRKF page if you are on there. Show these families that you support them. And if you find it in your heart, donate monetarily to these families as well here. I will be making a withdrawal of the funds on Monday so that the families can have the money we’ve collected to-date before Christmas, but we will continue to raise money for them until we meet our goal.
Part 2 of this story can be found here.