The Monroe County Jail is Still a Gulag

JAILED MISSIONARY TELLS HIS STORY

by Sharon Rondeau

The town of Tellico Plains was once called "Great Tellico" by the Cherokee Indians and is located just above the southeastern corner of Tennessee

(Jan. 25, 2011) — On December 30, 2010, Mr. George Raudenbush was arrested in Tellico Plains, a small town in Monroe County, TN, on several charges.  Raudenbush is a mission coordinator who oversees adult and youth mission groups arriving in east Tennessee to perform mission work. Mr. Raudenbush also is a member of  Christian Citizens Against Corruption, an educational group which distributes press releases to residents of Tennessee with the purpose of informing them about local government corruption.

The charges against Raudenbush include aggravated assault, driving uninsured; speeding; failure to signal turn; evading arrest; driving left of center; resisting stop, frisk, halt; driving on a suspended license; failure to wear a seat belt; and driving an unregistered vehicle.

In June 2010, a trailer containing approximately $100,000-worth of construction tools used by teenagers involved with the Appalachian Youth Missions summer program was confiscated by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department for the alleged collection of a debt owed by Mr. Raudenbush.  However, the spokesman for the Missions group stated that the trailer had never belonged to Raudenbush and was therefore confiscated unlawfully.  The church group filed a criminal complaint with the Knoxville office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has reportedly contacted Monroe County Sheriff Bill Bivens.  Mr. Raudenbush believes that his arrest occurred in “retaliation” for the incident with the trailer and the fact that the church group contacted the FBI for assistance.

MRS. RONDEAU: Hi, George, how are you?

MR. RAUDENBUSH: Well, I’m doing good.  I just wanted to let you know that the conditions here are probably even more pronounced than what CDR Fitzpatrick reported.  They are worse now.  I’d say that 80-90% of the state requirements are not being met.  I’m in a compartment that is state-certified to hold 16 men, and there are 39 in this compartment.  The drains are backed up, and it is just horrendous.

However, I’m in good spirits and doing OK.

MRS. RONDEAU: I’m glad you reported that, because the TCI went in and reportedly gave the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department 30 days to clean up their act, literally, and I was told that that occurred on December 7.  So the 30 days has more than expired.

MR. RAUDENBUSH: Right.  I’m here and providing a first-person account as a Christian journalist verifying that the conditions are terrible.

I wanted to tell you that the sheriff has been in direct retaliation for the incident with the tool trailer.  The FBI did contact him on behalf of our Council, and he has agreed to return $100,000-worth of tools and the tractor-trailer that his department confiscated.  It was only two days later that I was stopped and pulled over by sheriff’s deputies and a Tellico Plains police officer.

MRS. RONDEAU: I received the charge sheets from the court.

MR. RAUDENBUSH: We know that there are people here working on it.  They know the sheriff’s department is in direct retaliation from the FBI having gotten involved.

MRS. RONDEAU: When they first pulled you over, do you think they knew who you were?

MR. RAUDENBUSH: I believe that they did.  I think they were waiting for me.  I didn’t think that at first.  However, as I’ve had time to look back over that event and all the different factors involved, my perspective now is that they did have their eye out for me.  I’ve had more information brought to my attention since then as opposed to limited information at that time.

MRS. RONDEAU: Do you dispute all of the charges?

MR. RAUDENBUSH: Yes, I do dispute every one of them.  We have evidence that we tried to present at the preliminary hearing, and the judge was not impartial and did not allow most of the evidence to be admitted.  So we did not get a fair preliminary hearing.  We are attempting to go before the grand jury with this evidence that clearly tells, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there was no assault using the church vehicle on the officers.  They even said I was driving with a suspended or revoked license, which I wasn’t.  I was driving on an international government license, and they claimed it was a non-governmental license.

MRS. RONDEAU: Was the license up-to-date?

MR. RAUDENBUSH: Absolutely.  Everything was current:  my insurance; everything was current.  I was in the process of giving the insurance over to the officer when he asked; I was in full compliance.  At no time did I resist the officer at all, and at no time was I ever uncooperative.  The word that they used was “uncooperative.”  During that time of cooperation was when I was assaulted by the officers, and they did use excessive force.  This particular officer has a history of police brutality.

In addition to that, I had filed a complaint with the agency which gives the certification to this officer to remove his certification from the state because of a prior incident when he used excessive force that was over a year ago and shows motive on the part of the officer.

MRS. RONDEAU: Did that prior incident involve you?

MR. RAUDENBUSH: Yes, and also another individual in the vehicle with me.  That actually occurred a year before this incident.  From the report that we have, there was motive for the officer to do what he did.  In addition to that, the other officer, Travis Jones, who works with the sheriff’s department, and Brian Millsaps, who works in the Tellico Plains Police Department, both have a history of using excessive force and making false and exaggerated reports.  We have numerous witnesses here ready to testify against those officers for misconduct in the past and at present. When we were giving out press releases and flyers in Monroe County, Travis Jones was the individual who actually stopped, detained and threatened us. We were on private property and with in our rights to be there.

MRS. RONDEAU: I remember that story.

MR. RAUDENBUSH: We did an actual press release on it.  He was the officer who claimed that he had been assaulted.  There is no evidence of any damage to his vehicle, although he’s claiming it, and we have pictures of the church vehicle showing no scratch or damage whatsoever.

Editor’s Note: An individual who inspected the vehicle at the impound yard reported:

Sharon, I went to visit George yesterday. I found out that the big bad charges that the Tellico Plains Police have on George, is for aggravated assault. The Chief at Tellico told me that George had assaulted a Tellico Police several times by running into the police car, By hitting the cruiser with the side of the 80s model ford escort he had assaulted the police officer. Well I went to the yard where the Little assault vehicle is being held. I inspected it to see what the conditions would be,for transporting it, after impound could be paid. Guess what ! There is not even the smallest scratch or dent in the car. Pretty tough little escort to do such aggression and come out with not a scratch, or someone for whatever their reason is bogus in putting such charges on George.

MRS. RONDEAU: And you were driving that church vehicle when the arrest occurred on December 30?

MR. RAUDENBUSH: Yes.  I was on official church business, and under international law, I had my passport, my driver’s license, my registration; everything was current, and the embassy can verify that.

MRS. RONDEAU: What kind of international license do you have?  Does it look different from a Tennessee license?

MR. RAUDENBUSH: It’s completely different.  Under international law, individuals in the United States can drive on international licenses.  If there is also another government or a nation – let’s say the United Arab Emirates – it’s just like being in the military.  If you’re from the United States and you go to another country, even if your license has expired, in the military, you can drive in other countries on that license.  It’s the same thing here when you have a treaty involved; if you’re with another government or a nation.  The Embassy of Heaven is actually a church government, and as a missionary, I actually registered for and applied for international tags, an international passport, and an international license.  My license is completely up-to-date, and that information can be verified at www.embassyofheaven.org. You can actually call Brother Paul and verify that information.

MRS. RONDEAU: How are you doing physically?  I know you were fasting after you were arrested.

MR. RAUDENBUSH: I fasted for 12 days without any food, just straight water, and the last two or three days I was drinking eight ounces of Kool-Aid a day.  But I felt really good; I was actually fasting for the officers who were involved.  I wasn’t fasting as a protest, and I did it very quietly so the only people who knew about it were those in here.  Then I felt as if the Lord released me from that fast after 12 days.  After breaking that fast, we saw a huge difference inside our compartment.

I actually see being here as an opportunity from the Lord.  Sometimes tensions get a little high because of the conditions, but overall, the guys are great.

I’m not looking to pay any bond money to get out of here; I’m not going to give them any money.  They can take care of me until my trial.  I’m going to use this opportunity to its fullest.

————————

Editor’s Note: A person who has been in contact with Mr. Raudenbush reported the following in a recent email to The Post & Email:

The present condition of George’s stay at Monroe County Jail is, Two toilets for 40 inmates in one cell, also 24 beds in one cell 16 sleep on the floor, temp. is 60 F

Another email from the same source reported on last week’s hearing:

I just got back from George’s hearing. The bond has been reduced from 56k to 25k. The three assault charges; the best I understand have been reduced to 1 assault charge. The next court date is Feb. 14th.

Mr. Raudenbush also reported to us that he requested a hearing in front of the grand jury following his court appearance last week, but his request was denied.

The Post & Email was told by Ms. Peggy Sawyer at the Tennessee Corrections Institute that the Monroe County jail would be inspected for the alleged code violations reported by inmates last fall.  While it appeared that an inspection and subsequent improvements had occurred, The Post & Email will be following up with Ms. Sawyer in the coming days.

5 Responses to "The Monroe County Jail is Still a Gulag"

  1. Billie   Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 10:55 PM

    The Church is sending missionerys to bring Christianity to TN which are surly needed. But this man is more than a missionery. He is an Ambasador with full Diplomatic Imunity. Imagine if theyed arrested the Ambasador from China! Obama would be screaming and put the whole sheriff and his whole department in chains and he would bow down to China and appologize around the world. But they do this to the Ambasador of Heaven! Where is this apology? Dont they know who they must apologize to? You cant arrest a Diplomat!

  2. Betty   Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    Do you answer emails sent in here or how do we know if it was actually received?
    ——————
    Mrs. Rondeau replies: Please send email inquiries, comments or news tips to editor@thepostemail.com.

  3. Billie   Saturday, January 29, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    This is a modern Daniel in the Lion’s Den. Monroe County started the war against Christmas 20 years ago and thing have got even worse yet. Things not fit to be in words in a family paper. There are hardly any able- bodied men left, as they are taken away to work on the big ranches in TX. They are owned by local politicians and paid so poorly; they charge them room and meals and they never can save money to leave TX or even get to town.

    After he rescued those girls from the fashion school in CA the hand of Satan came all the way to TN to get him. They tried having a person that looked just like him going around committing crimes to pin on him but God protecting him, they failed and decided to kill him instead. Look at the pictures if you can stand it; they are horrible. His head is split open like a water melon and you can see the brain inside and the brain is split open too. You know the hand of God protected him when he healed right up after what the attempted murderers did. We had the same problem in TN because our plates are issued by the church. We were lucky to live in a state now where the lawmen respect God’s Missionaries. There is no way to legally put this man in jail because this automobile is not technically a vehicle, but they don’t care about legal in TN.

  4. Zeb Blanchard   Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    This whole affair is bogus. George’s bonifides are legit. They were “tested” and verified in Florida not long ago. And George has been using them in Monroe County for years.

    I had inspected the exterior of the car George was in when he was arrested. We thought it had been damaged when it ran off the road but there was no damage. I reviewed the pictures taken in the used car yard after the arrest and the car was the same. The vehicle is an old Ford Escort and very pristine for its age. The issue of the car being used in an assault is academic, however, since it was stored in a junk yard and not impounded. The chain of evidence with the car has been broken. Anyone could have damaged or repaired the car while it was out of law enforcement custody.

    This is retaliation, pure and simple, and just more Monroe County thuggery.

  5. Sanislaw   Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    “It’s the same thing here when you have a treaty involved; if you’re with another government or a nation. The Embassy of Heaven is actually a church government, and as a missionary, I actually registered for and applied for international tags, an international passport, and an international license.”

    I don’t understand who issued him the license? Another country? Is he saying that his church issued him a driver’s license?
    ———————-
    Mrs. Rondeau replies: I believe he is saying that an international missionary group issued the license rather than a state government, as is usually the case. While a link to the organization Mr. Raudenbush mentioned is included in the article, I have not had a chance to delve into it further yet.

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