Christians Today

Pator Falsely accused

Pastor with limited English has been arrested in Sacramento and falsely accused of solicitation for prostitution.

4The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department has arrested John Oselsky Wednesday, along with 23 others, during a prostitution sting.

Mr Oselsky is the senior pastor at Grace Family Church, which mostly serves the Slavic community in Carmichael.

According to his biography, Oselsky has four children with his wife.

“He is 100 percent innocent,” said a parishioner. When asked how the man who identified himself as a church volunteer knew of Oselsky’s innocence he replied: “The mistake was done by the Sheriff’s Department and police.”

Parishioners who did attend seemed sympathetic for both the church and their pastor. “I hope our church will unite and won’t condemn him. But instead really love him and do everything what is required from us to help restore.”

Mike Borisov (Mr Oselsky’s Son-In-Law) wrote a note:

The Account of John Oselsky and His Arrest.

My father-in-law is John Oselsky who has been arrested for alleged solicitation of prostitution, a misdemeanor in the state of California. As someone who was personally involved in this unfortunate night, I want to shed some light on the events. There are a lot of rumors circulating around, especially since the media picked up the story. Interestingly enough, there is no personal mention of the other dozens of men (and some women) picked up on the same charges that night except for this “pastor.” This is of course, because “pastor caught in sin” makes for good sensational news. My father-in-law is in fact the senior pastor of a local, well-known, Slavic church. Firstly, I want to thank those of you who have not rushed to pass judgement. Even more, I want to thank those of you who have been in prayer for our family. My firm belief is that my father-in-law is innocent of the accusations he is charged with. It is my hope that those of you who have been making judgements based on little more than a catchy headline, can consider other information that is based on my first-hand experience and from my direct conversations with John, shortly after his release. I trust that as more evidence comes to light, it will support my own convictions as well as those of our family… Here is what happened on my end on June 12, 2014: I was awakened by a call from my mother-in-law at 12:40AM asking me to come to her house as fast as possible. I could tell something was wrong and hurried over wondering why my father-in-law wasn’t there. When I got there she told me that her husband had been arrested and he had called asking to be bailed out. I wanted more details but she said that all she could understand (the phone connection was bad) was that he had been trying to get food after working at his church and something had happened. We drove to downtown Sacramento and arrived at the County Jail. The doors were locked and we sat for a while in my car outside of the jail waiting for someone to come. During this time I looked up the arrest through our county sheriff’s website and when I saw the charges, my heart dropped. Sitting in that car I could not bring myself to tell my mother-in-law what I had just found, instead quickly scrolling to a different page. When we got into the front lobby of the jail and spoke with an officer, he seemed very surprised that my mom had come to bail her husband out. He even handed her a document that laid out the arresting charges and said, “Are you sure you want him out? Look at these charges!” Mom was looking at the document but could not understand what he was referring to. The most difficult thing I have ever had to do was explain to my frightened mother-in-law, in Russian, in that jail, what the term “solicitation for prostitution” meant. Mom looked like she was hit by a ton of bricks but did not falter and without hesitation said “yes” when the officer repeated his question if she wanted her husband out. I took this opportunity to ask the officers (there were two) if they knew whether this was an isolated arrest or if there had been some kind of sting. The officer told us that there had been a prostitution sting and they had picked up quite a few people. We were directed to go to a Bail Bond agency across the street to post bail. We ended up going to three different bail bond places because it turns out very few work with prostitution charges. Mind you this is around 2AM or so. At each one, I kept asking the bail bond agents two questions: 1. If they had heard about this sting and 2. whether in their experience it is possible for an innocent person to be “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” In answer to my questions I heard from each of the bail bond agents that they have been working like crazy this night because of this prostitution sting and also that it is possible that someone could have been picked up by mistake. I was asking these questions to try to keep a shred of hope alive for my own sake and that of my mom. Curiously, one bail bond agent asked whether John had an accent. When I affirmed his assumption he told me that the unfortunate fact is that police tend to profile people with accents. This was a big concern considering that my father-in-law has a very poor grasp of English. Finally, we posted bail and my brave mother stayed in front of that jail by herself for the next several hours waiting for her husband. I had to rush home to my own wife who was worried sick because I had not told her what was going on. He was released in the early morning and when he was out he called me asking to come over to my house and talk. He arrived extremely shaken up and shared his story: Around 7PM, John had two separate counseling sessions with different couples at his church. This is a regular part of his job as a pastor. These lasted until approximately 10PM. When the couples left, he spent a few more minutes working in the church office. Once finished, he locked up the church, set the alarm and turned to go. He left the church and decided to stop at a nearby gas station that has cheap gas and a burger place in a nearby plaza. He had not had dinner so he decided to grab a burger. When he pulled into the parking lot he noticed several parked cars. He pulled in across from the restaurant and turned off his ignition. At this time, two women were walking in his direction from the driver’s side. He decided to stay in the car until they passed but instead they approached his car and tried to get his attention. He partially put down his window and they were talking at him. As I already mentioned, his grasp of the English language is very poor and he could only understand that they were saying something about money and he made out the word “sex.” He tried to indicate to them that he did not understand them/was not interested. While this was happening a white van pulled up behind his car, partially blocking him so that he could not leave. The two women immediately went over to the van and began talking to the driver. John could not see to whom they were speaking but became afraid that he was about to be robbed (this had happened to him at a gas station several years ago). He pulled his car forward and then maneuvered it around the van blocking his path. He told me, “All I knew in that moment was that I needed to get out of there.” He successfully pulled away from the van and proceeded to pull out of the burger joint parking lot into the street. At this time, another pastor from the church called John and he put him on speaker phone. Before he was able to turn into the street, a car pulled sharply in front of him and a spotlight was turned on him. Several police officers got out and began yelling for him to step out of his vehicle. One of the officers kept yelling at him to turn his phone off. They pulled him out of the car and with his limited English (and confused/panicked state) John was attempting to ask them what was going on. They did not explain in a way that he could understand (remember, he does not speak English so it would not have mattered even if they had been crystal clear). He says he asked one of them why he was being arrested and the officer responded with a phrase that John did not understand (I wonder if it was ”solicitation?”). After handcuffing him, an officer opened his wallet and counted out the $12 cash he had in there. John recalls that the officer double checked he had counted right. He then examined his cell phone. They put his things into a bag and put John in the police car. Another officer got into John’s car and they drove him away from the scene for several minutes to a parking lot that had several other cars on it. John realized that some kind of operation was going on when he saw more people in that lot with handcuffs on. From there he was loaded into a van with the others and taken to the jail where he was told he can call someone to post bail. When he told them he will call his wife, the officers were very surprised. John tried to explain to them, in his limited English, that this must be some sort of mistake. The officers at the jail simply responded that they did not make the arrest and there was nothing they could do. He was put in a cell by himself, while the other men who were arrested were locked together. After telling me his story, my father-in-law handed me all of the documents he received from the jail upon his release. I examined them, noticing that his cell phone was not returned (or even logged as part of his personal belongings). Dad wants me to accompany him for his court proceedings and this tells me that this is a man who has nothing to hide from his family.

For the last 9 years that I have known John Oselsky, among many other traits, I have greatly admired these two: 1. His devotion to God and 2. His dedication to his family. My hope is that those of you who take the time to read this long-winded post will lift our family in prayer.

We believe that God is in control and that even this crazy situation can be turned around for His glory and our good.

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