This writing is in response to a Facebook post of a friend of mine, that post is copied after this response. I think there may have been some things about me my friend may have misunderstood. That is okay, we all make mistakes. But it goes deeper than that, we had some really hard feelings that are yet to be resolved and as a result I suspect the lens he views me through could use some attention. I hope he feels the same about me.

There was a day when my friend chose to partake in what appeared to me to be a community wide ostracization which allowed another to take possession of my livelihood (assets and business). That was my perception and in trying to figure out how to approach him I felt the need to consider his perspective and I now realize were other influences on him causing him to perceive things other than what was, or more specifically, the reality I was perceiving.

My friend is the Pastor at one of the two more significant churches in an area just north of Eagle River (Chugiak) and what I interpreted was that my friend was upholding the excommunication the other pastor in the area had (two years earlier) pronounced on me from the pulpit. My friend, in his pastoral role, likely would not have known me from anyone else nor would he have had any reason to. This though I had attended well over a hundred of his sermons in person and he was always congenial to me in the foyer and in public where our Paths still regularly cross.

He was not likely conscious of my identity (who I am) when the offense happened. I further believe he may have felt caught in the moment, unaware of the trauma I had just experienced, and found condemnation (of me) to be the path of least resistance, in the moment, so he took it. That’s what I would like to think, that somehow he will find a way to explain that to me and I can forgive him. There were others though and I am forced to acknowledge that his perception of me almost certainly came through others and those he trusted, a betrayal I can certainly emphasize with.

One of them was Ted Carlson. Ted is a retired APD captain, former Anchorage Assembly Person and a generally revered figure in Chugiak and its Senior Center where I came to know him. It has been five or six years since Ted and I reconciled, and I have nothing but the deepest respect for the man. At the time though he did something he shouldn’t have, and it apparently snowballed to the point the Pastor (my friend) chose to cover for him (possibly others) a covering Mr. Carlson, for one, no longer desires.

In the fall of 2010, I was an officer (treasurer) on the board of directors at the Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center. I had served in that role for over seven years, Ted was vice-president and had served in that role even longer. In that season when I chose to resolve my sexuality by confessing a long repressed same-sex attraction life got particularly challenging for me. What happened at the Senior Center was an aside to what I was going through which only gains significance in the fuller light of (with the benefit of hindsight) what in fact did happened.

In that season my home church was depriving me of my assets and business. That pastor, from the pulpit, forbade the congregants from having any contact with me (excommunicated me) for the sin of being an unrepentant homosexual. After I had confessed to experiencing same-sex attractions he had afforded me the opportunity to publicly renounce homosexuality and declare deliverance which I declined. Allegations of sexual impropriety were brought forth in the legal arena and eventually dismissed. During the time of their (the legal charges) pendency life got incredibly difficult for me.

I believe a review of the record will show that when the State chose to bring charges it was not because they believed they had a case which warranted prosecution (they didn’t) but rather that they perceived me as mentally ill (and thereby a security/safety concern, a concern wrongly echoed by these retired APD officers) because I was upset at the churches role in depriving me of my assets, business and livelihood. In that season a detective with the APD had decided to investigate the allegations of sexual impropriety, which I was (of course) fine with as the allegations (later shown not to be founded) had been made. That investigation commenced in mid-late September which was about a month after I had been locked out of my business. What I still have an issue with is what came out during that investigation which led to eventual charges and why the evidence was deemed sufficient to bring the charges. That has nothing to do with my friend though, the Pastor who I am responding to here.

The detective chose to interview Mr. Carlson and the record speaks for itself. Mr. Carlson had issue with my confession of a same-sex attraction and found it worthy of, for lack of a better word, contempt. A couple years later though the initial charges of a serious sexual assault, coupled with allegations of stealing my own property, were dismissed as non-sex related misdemeanors, and I returned to attending services at my friend’s church. I really enjoyed his preaching and had been regularly attending for 8-10 weeks when it happened.

In that season the church where my friend was Pastor was holding two Sunday sessions, one at Nine A.M. and the second two hours later at Eleven. I had a Sunday morning routine that involved being outdoors for about an hour prior to attending services. On that morning it was exceptionally cold and I decided to forego my routine and as a result I arrived early, even as the folks from the first service were still exiting and that was when I crossed paths with Mr. Carlson. He appeared visibly upset to see me and though I positioned myself where I was approachable, he chose not to engage me in conversation. I believe that was where he purposed to do what he did, which in turn led to a series of other events causing me to challenge my friend, the Pastor.

I had two days left to serve on my reduced charge of Harassment in the Second Degree and I reported to the jail the next morning to serve them. Unbeknownst to me Israel Keyes had committed suicide at that same jail the previous morning. Also, what I would later realize was that the jail had no one doing time and accounting as the position had been vacant most of the fall. During that period the supervisors were filling in but with the suicide of Mr. Keyes they became distracted and no one did the calculations which should have released me either late on Tuesday or early on that Wednesday. I ended up spending a full five days incarcerated and was released late Friday which was fortunate as otherwise I would have been locked up until Monday at a minimum.

What happened next (after that Sunday encounter with Mr. Carlson) I’ve had to piece together in retrospect as the involved parties at the churches had dehumanized me and cut-off all contact. In addition, the Municipal entities involved (APD as well as the Senior Center) gave the appearance of being in the act of working overtime to cover up for a significant breach in protocol. I have renewed my call for transparency from both of those entities and would appreciate others joining me in that call.

What I didn’t know was that after Mr. Carlson had me removed from the Board for the apparent sin of being other than heterosexual he replaced my membership (and office) with another retired APD officer who was also an elder at my friends church. The following morning the two of them approached the Executive Director (Linda Hendrickson) and requested she report me as stalking her and secure a restraining order against me which would keep me from being anywhere near the Senior Center. She did not think I was stalking her nor did she feel I was a threat to anyone and she declined to pursue the restraining order. In the absence of the Board President the other two officers of the board, who were both retired APD, chose to engage the local Community Liaison (APD) Officer to aid them in their misguided deed. They decided to ‘trespass’ me from the Senior Center ‘and all surrounding businesses’ for the sake of ‘security’. On the day I was checking into the Anchorage Correctional Complex to serve my penance the active APD officer was commissioned by the retired APD officers to serve a warrant which was flawed to the point of not being legally enforceable. That officer is still on the force and to the best of my knowledge still assigned as the community liaison for that area.

Armed with the warrant she set out on what could only be described as an old-school shakedown. She went to my residence and not finding me there canvassed the neighborhood letting my neighbors know I was a wanted man, gathering information on my comings and goings, visitors, and other activities. She then went on to harass my estranged family members (ex-wife and the children we raised) visiting their places of work to question them and making sure they, and their coworkers, all knew I was wanted by the police.

Apparently, it was not until the third day of her search/shakedown that she decided to put my name into the computer and discovered that I was in custody at the Anchorage Jail. I was oblivious to all that when she showed up at the jail. At the jail she got me alone in a room and chastised me for not making it known among my neighbors or estranged family members that I was in jail. That I had somehow caused her this horrible inconvenience and she was pissed. Of course, the Courts, the Prosecutors, and even her computer knew all about that, but I was the object of derision for not making that known to my neighbors, ex-wife, or the children we had raised. I opted not to respond to her chastising of me, there actually was not much I could respond to.

She then went on to read the trespass notice to me which trespassed me from the Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center and ALL surrounding businesses. I do not bill myself as a legal expert but to my lay understanding of the law I had questions about whether a person could be trespassed from a publicly owned facility (which I did not voice but still seek clarity of). I did respond to the blanket nature of the trespass notice which spread the ‘security’ concerns to ‘all surrounding businesses’. I could not conceive a Judge enforcing a trespass notice from one entity, meant to be enforced on its neighboring entity without that second or subsequent entity joining in on the trespass notice. On its surface it appeared blatantly unenforceable which I did (with all humility) question her on.

Her response was rather concerning. She had seemed to have worked herself up into a state of agitation before engaging me and she became significantly animated in her response. She explained that she did not work in the courts or the legal arena and that the order was very enforceable because she would be its enforcer. She specifically wanted me to know that if I violated the order, she would be the one coming after me and that she would ‘catch’ me. That once in her custody the journey to the jail from Chugiak would be a long and bumpy one, a very ‘rough’ ride if you will. This ‘lady’ is still on the force and (to the best of my knowledge) still the community liaison officer for the area and I do feel the need to make the community aware that she is prone to doing (and has done) things police should not do and that is take the law into their own hands.

That Friday I was released from the criminal justice system and Sunday found me going to church to hear my friend preach. The doorman, and lead elder (Charles Bohlin), as he had done so many times in the many years prior, greeted me at the door and welcomed me home. I went into the sanctuary/auditorium and took my seat prior to the service. Shortly after which Mr. Bohlin entered the sanctuary and approached me to inquire if my name was ‘Roger Branson’ which I (of course) confirmed. He informed me that I had been trespassed from the church and that I was breaking the law by being there.

I asked him to accompany me outside so we could have a conversation while I comply with his request and he agreed. Outside he informed me that the trespass order was the result of ‘something that happened at the Senior Center’. I asked him if Ted Carlson was involved in that and he assured me that he was. I requested that in exchange for my voluntary compliance that he arrange for an in-person meeting with he, Mr. Carlson, and myself. He agreed to make that happen. He lied.

In his defense he may have assumed Mr. Carlson would voluntarily attend. In retrospect it would appear Mr. Carlson was engaged in activity he knew he should not have been. That an in-person meeting could (and would) likely expose that, and therefore, he may have had no intention of living up to my request. In that event what would have seemed incumbent on Mr. Bohlin to have communicated that resistance which he did not do. Over the next ten days I inquired of Mr. Bohlin several times to the point he stopped taking my calls or answering my texts.

I took my plight to my friend, the Pastor, and he chose not to acknowledge me or my very real struggle. In his defense I have no idea what the church elders were telling him to justify their actions. They appeared to know they (or members among them) were engaging in wrongful activity and that they (corporately) chose to engage in covering up that (wrong) activity. They did so by dehumanizing me in enforcing the excommunication (ostracization) and disenfranchisement the other significant church in the area had implemented a couple of years earlier. I felt I was made into a scapegoat that they had attached their sins to me then cast me out to die, only I did not die (at least not yet).

I became deeply offended and we are now going into our eighth year of that offense. Although Mr. Carlson and I settled our differences, he has yet to publicly acknowledge what happened and I now call on him to do so. I call on my friend, the Pastor, and the elders to voluntarily open the record and explain, for my benefit, how things got to where they are now. They do not have to do or participate in that and indeed they have the right to not incriminate their selves. However, if they choose to invoke that right I request they do it openly and step into the light for all to see.

The bottom line is that two retired APD officers used their community standing to have a current member of the force deprive me of my liberty (and justice) under color of law. That the Senior Center Board of Directors, which they had influence over, participated (at a minimum) in covering/allowing that wrong (against the U.S. constitution) activity. That the current Senior Center Directors need to call for accountability or break off relations with that church (not allow for them to engage in religious activities at the center). As an aside to all of that I call on the city to investigate whether or not the entity contracted to operate the Senior Center is capable of operating the facility without discriminating based on sexual orientation or perceived mental health incapacities.

Back to my friend, the Pastor, I now realize that we were (likely) not perceiving the same world when we came to have our differences. That dehumanizing me through condemnation and social ostracization (resulting in disenfranchisement) was incredibly challenging for me and that those actions hindered my ability to heal and/or to move on. Indeed, I still find those actions debilitating for if they are not resolved I risk going through them all over again. In addition, as an advocate for folks receiving Mental Health services, I have a duty to expose such activity to keep those I advocate for from having to face such unfair atrocities.

I call on my friend, the Pastor, to acknowledge me once again as a human being. He does not have to, his actions are on his conscience, and I will pray for him. I vow to use my constitutional rights to oppose those who, through lack of understanding and/or hatred, would seek to take those same rights from me. As long as I have the breath to do so, I will continue speaking out and though my friend the Pastor may take offense at what I say he will, for a certainty, address the Truth sooner or later. I pray it goes well for him on that day.

My friend, the Pastor’s Facebook post is copied below. In going on eight years of giving and taking offense this is the closest he has come to acknowledging me directly. I chose to embrace that in a positive light please pray for him.

Brad Rud~TheCrossing Church, Pastor

Facebook posting 6-17-2020

It is impossible to walk out this journey of life without being the target of unkind words or actions. Worse, it's impossible to walk out this journey without having someone malign your character or motives, or simply say nasty things about you that are not true. So now that that's settled, let me ask you a question- how do you respond when someone offends you? How do you respond when someone takes you for granted or doesn't appreciate your efforts on their behalf? How do you respond when someone criticizes your performance or even how you look? Not only does your response matter, it has great power. Many years ago I trained myself to respond a certain way to offense. When someone says something that is unkind or untrue about me, I simply whisper in my mind, "No, I'm way worse than that." George Whitefield once wrote a letter to people who were attacking him, in which he said, "I know worse things about myself than my enemies will ever say about me." This is certainly true for me. Now when I am criticized, I genuinely love the person who is attacking me and I pray for them. I always say something like, "I know that I am far from perfect. Will you please forgive me?" I say this because it's TRUE, and I undoubtedly need to be forgiven for some of my failings. And then I ask them if there are any other things that I need to seek forgiveness for. Proverbs 17:9 says, "He who covers over an offense promotes love." Friends, when Jesus died on the cross he took away our right to be offended. While we were still sinners Christ died for us! So stop being offended- grow stronger in your faith- and God will bless you! -Pastor Brad