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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Youth Minister's Downfall Is Tearing First Christian Church of Florissant Apart

Posted By on Wed, May 6, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Page 8 of 8


MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
  • Missouri Department of Corrections

Brandon Milburn today sits in a cell in the Eastern Reception Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, awaiting psychological and medical evaluation before he's shipped to prison to begin serving his 25-year sentence. For someone who made his name inspiring crowds with his preaching, it's an especially lonely time. But Milburn is not alone. Records obtained by the Anderson family show that he's been visited on site no less than 78 times by Barb Brazle. She's the wife of Virgil Brazle, the "connections pastor" at FCCF and one of Wingfield's top lieutenants.

According to court documents, Virgil Brazle unsuccessfully petitioned a judge in 2014 to reduce Milburn's $100,000 bond, even offering to let the confessed child abuser to stay in his home. In fact, when Riverfront Times wrote Milburn a letter at the detention facility asking for comment, it was Barb Brazle who texted back, asking for clarification on what the paper was seeking.

According to Wingfield, he personally notified the Krauss family that Virgil Brazle was making church-sanctioned trips to minister to Milburn in jail. Wingfield says he and other church leaders have met "on a regular basis" with family since the arrest.

The Krauss family says they have no memory of Wingfield disclosing that, and that they're uncomfortable with Wingfield's characterization. They've talked only four or five times with the minister since Milburn's arrest — once at their initiation.

The Andersons, who left the church in 2012, say they've had zero contact.

"The obvious/normal/healthy thing to do would have been for SOMEONE at FCCF to reach out to us," Jacob Anderson says in an emailed statement. "We had been members for 25 years there. Brandon Milburn was employed at FCCF. We met Brandon Milburn thru FCCF. We joined the church when my oldest daughter was an infant and our other three children were born/raised up in the church there. Virgil Brazle still had a long history with us and could have made contact with us. At least, a card in the mail ... a phone call ... even an email note could have been sent to us. Nothing was.

"No contact was made by ANYONE associated with FCCF. No contact after the arrest or anytime these past 15 months."

From his detention facility, Milburn sent a brief statement to Riverfront Times. On yellow legal paper, he wrote that he'd been saved from his past — a gift from God. "He loves me, so he gave it to me, and I reached out and took it," he wrote. "No one will ever separate me from that love, and God extends that love to anyone and everyone no matter what they've done or where they are. I've chosen to do the same."

He ended with a P.S.: "Check out John 8:2-11."

The passage is the one in which Jesus defends a woman who's been caught in an act of adultery. He's asked if he would advocate stoning her. He responds, "Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."

Milburn signs his letter "Choosing love, Brandon."

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com

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