An Ocean Springs man used electronic communication to threaten, harass and stalk pastors, staff and parishioners at St. Paul United Methodist Church long after they got a restraining order to keep him away.
On Thursday, Vincent Salvador Drummond, 55, pleaded guilty to a bill of information charging him with two felony counts of cyberstalking.
When he went to enter the pleas, Drummond at first tried to tell Judge Robert Krebs he didn’t agree with all the allegations against him, but when the judge replied he would set a trial date, Drummond changed his mind.
Drummond pleaded guilty to the charges and received a five-year sentence on one count, followed by five years’ probation on the other.
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The judge also ordered him to cease communication in any form with St. Paul’s pastors, staff or members after his prison release. He was ordered to stay off any property owned by St. Paul’s.
Drummond didn’t apologize for his crimes.
The crimes occurred between November and December 2015, and January and October 2016. But the problems with Drummond at the church off U.S. 90 in east Ocean Springs started in 2014, shortly after he taught a couple of Sunday school lessons and church leaders learned he had been arrested on other cyberstalking charges, according to records the Sun Herald obtained from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
A church leader allowed Drummond to teach a third Sunday school lesson, but then asked him to attend counseling to learn how to deal with his anger.
Drummond attended one session with a professional counselor and a pastor, but then refused to attend any more.
His anger escalated, according to reports, and he started sending threatening letters to other officials in the Methodist Church, including one to a bishop, alleging harassment by St. Paul’s pastors and members. A pastor eventually wrote to him asking him “to attend services peacefully or attend elsewhere.”
The harassment continued until St. Paul’s leaders decided they had to obtain a restraining order through Chancery Court requiring Drummond to stay off church properties and not contact its members or call its offices.
But then he started leaving ugly voice mails.
“In the calls, (Drummond) continued displaying anger issues and began to utter threats, harassment and profanity toward different individuals,” the reports said.
In one instance, he said a person at the church could “go straight to hell and I’ll help put him there.”
Drummond’s threats grew more vicious, including racial slurs at one point against a pastor.
The church turned over to Jackson County sheriff’s investigators a large number of his threatening messages and other correspondence.
The Sun Herald reached out to St. Paul’s for comment, but did not hear back.
Drummond has two other cyberstalking convictions, both in Jackson County.