ROC fights ends with a hug

Posted at 2:36 PM, Jun 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-21 15:19:26-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) - Charges were dropped Friday against former executive pastor of the Richmond Outreach Center (ROC) Jason Helmlinger. He was arrested and charged last month with making a threat over the phone.

The former ROC member who said Helmlinger threatened him not only agreed to dismiss the charge, but also reconciled with the pastor.

"My client has apologized for making some comments and remarks that he regrets and he has offered his apologies to Pastor Allen [Caldwell]," Helmlinger's attorney David Carlson said. "And Pastor Allen has accepted those apologies.  The court took all of that into account when it came to his decision to grant the Commonwealth Attorney to dismiss."

Caldwell alleged Helmlinger called him racially hurtful names over the phone and even threatened him for criticizing the ROC's former senior pastor Geronimo Aguilar. Aguilar was arrested and charged with child sex crimes in Texas. 

After Friday's olive branch was extended, the two men hugged it out and offered a handshake deal to move forward.

"The charges are dismissed and they can't be brought back," Carlson said.

The men insisted the surprising outcome was more of a spiritual resolution.

"It's just time for healing that's all," said fellow pastor Garvin Byrd.  "We are all in agreement the pastor is a pastor and the right thing for right now is to move toward the body of Christ."