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CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY GROUP: PROPERTY HAS BEEN SEIZED AND IMPOUNDED BY MONROE COUNTY SHERIFF BILL BIVENS
by Sharon Rondeau
(Dec. 10, 2010) — The Post & Email has learned that a leader of the Christian organization Appalachian Youth Missions has sent a criminal complaint to the Knoxville, TN office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding the illegal actions of Monroe County Sheriff Bill Bivens.
The letter was sent by certified mail on December 9, 2010 and confirmed as having been received by personnel in Knoxville.
A representative of the church group has reported that the property was seized on June 8, 2010 and that the sheriff had claimed that it was personal rather than church property. The action of Sheriff Bivens was described as “a deliberate attack upon the church and the youth work that benefits the community.”
It has previously been reported to The Post & Email that there have been numerous criminal complaints against Sheriff Bill Bivens. A summary of a 2006 attempt on the life of the National Missions Coordinator of the Appalachian Youth Missions is published here. The victim has told The Post & Email that Bivens was involved in the crime and might even have arranged the contract to have the missionary killed.
At that time, Bivens was the police chief of Tellico Plains, TN, a town in Monroe County.
The Post & Email has been told that Officer Eddie Manning “has been the front man for Bill Bivens in the seizure.”
During the primary elections this past August, members of the group Christian Citizens against Corruption reported harassment and threats against their lives while distributing literature by Detective Travis Jones of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, a story which was expanded in a later interview by one of the distributors of the literature in the community.
The body of the letter reads:
As per our conversation, I am writing to state that on or about October 27, 2003, your organization purchased from Giant Storage Trailer Rental, Inc. two used trailers, VIN No. EF2157482M and VIN No. HPZ620619.
On the said date of the purchase, I specifically recall that the purchase was on behalf of Appalachian Youth Mission from funds that were raised by a recent youth group on a mission’s trip in the area. Although the purchase was by an individual, I was informed that the purchaser was an agent of Appalachian Youth Mission with the full authority of the organization and its counsel, and that he was purchasing the trailer on the organization’s behalf.
I have recently learned that the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department seized one of the trailers and all of its contents, and they are arranging to auction off the trailer and its contents on the presumption that the trailer and its contents belong to another individual. This is unfortunate, and I hope that you are able to resolve this untoward situation. Your organization provides an essential service to the community as well as further the Gospel, and I firmly support your mission.
Good luck in resolving this matter. Should the Counsel need any further support to ensure that Appalachian Youth Mission’s trailer and its contents are returned, please do not hesitate to contact me.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department implemented a “Theft Task Force” earlier this year to apprehend those who had allegedly committed robberies and thefts, claiming that “In less than a month, the task force has recovered $32,000 in stolen property.”
However, the criminal complaint filed yesterday with the FBI alleges that the Sheriff’s Department itself is guilty of stealing property.
A local Monroe County blog states that “Public attention to Civil Rights has been on the forefront recently in Monroe County.”
One of the missionaries distributing literature before the August primary commented, “The church property seizure was definitely in retaliation for the CCC distribution of literature exposing/reporting the corruption in the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff is intent on cleaning out the trailer and keeping the tools for himself despite the fact that the writ of execution doesn’t match title of the property. We have a witness that stated the trailer was moved to a secret location where items were removed from the mission workshop by the sheriff and then the church trailer appeared two days later after the seizure at the county impound yard.”