British Columbia

Chilliwack pastor facing child pornography charges

Johannes Vermeer, 58, has been charged with two counts of possession of child pornography and two counts of accessing child pornography and has resigned as pastor at Chilliwack's Main Street Church.

Johannes Vermeer, 58, has resigned as pastor at Chilliwack's Main Street Church

Johannes "John" Vermeer, 61, has been sentenced to 14 months in jail after being found guilty on two counts of accessing child pornography and two counts of possession of child pornography. (Main Street Church)

Johannes "John" Vermeer, 58, has been charged with two counts of possession of child pornography and two counts of accessing child pornography and has resigned as executive pastor at Chilliwack's Main Street Church.

According to police, Vermeer was arrested without incident in March, and released on bail. 

Main Street Church lead pastor Shawn Vandop broke the news to the congregation at Sunday service.

"News like that is always a shock. I don't think there's any positive way you could take news like that," said Vandop. "Our people were shocked, but yet, our people are also — we believe in a God that can carry us through situations like that, through hardships like this."

Vandop said it was the church that tipped off police, after a computer contractor noticed something on the church's computers and flagged it.

According to RCMP Cpl. Mike Rail with the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment, investigators picked up the case three years ago. The allegations range from May 2010 to June 2012.

Vandop said Vermeer's role at Main Street Church didn't involve working with children, and he was a behind-the-scenes guy who handled administrative business.

Vermeer's next court appearance will be at Chilliwack Provincial Court on April 17.

With files from Jesse Johnston.

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