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Pastor linked to mom and toddler in hiding threatens judge, attorney, reporter and shows up in Idaho Falls

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IDAHO FALLS — The leader of an Arizona-based ministry who is helping a Teton County mother and child hide from law enforcement visited eastern Idaho this week and is threatening those involved in the case.

Michael Lewis Arthur Meyer is the man behind Walking for the Forgotten Ministry and Veterans on Patrol based in Tucson, Arizona. He claims to have “dozens” of safe houses across the country, and Sarah Stanley, along with her 3-year-old son River Jennings, have been “granted sanctuary” in one of them.

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Lee and River Jennings | Courtesy Lee Jennings

River’s father, Lee Jennings, has been granted full custody of his son following dozens of court hearings spanning years in Arizona and Idaho. He says Stanley is in a “cult” and is worried for River’s safety. Jennings has not seen or heard from his son since Oct. 25.

Stanley refuses to say where she is and told EastIdahoNews.com she is “being hunted down by corruption, greed, wickedness and evil, and I have a duty as my son’s God-given mother to protect him.”

Threatening calls and videos

EastIdahoNews.com posted an in-depth story about the custody battle and Stanley’s beliefs on March 3. A few days later, Meyer called our newsroom and left the following message for me, Nate Eaton:

“Mr. Eaton, I want to know why you continue to pursue a woman and child in our safe house program. Do you want to get other women and children harmed? Are you interested in children getting hurt? Is that what your goal is? I’d advise you to remove your Facebook post; otherwise, you’re going to be seeing a whole lot of attention you don’t want. This woman is in protected custody. You are putting her life in danger, Mr. Eaton, and I’ll be knocking on your front door in a few days with a camera and a lot of people, your personal house, if you do not get off of her back. Leave her alone. Goodbye, Mr. Eaton. See you soon.”

LISTEN TO THE VOICEMAIL IN THE VIDEO PLAYER BELOW:

I filed a civil protection order that was signed by Magistrate Judge Kent Gauchay on March 11. It says Meyer cannot come within 900 feet of me or my family members. It is not in effect until Meyer has been served with the order, which has been challenging because the minister does not seem to have a permanent address.

Meyer visited eastern Idaho this week as he posted a video (watch in the player above) on social media Tuesday morning standing in front of Banks Gaffney law firm in Idaho Falls. Laurie Gaffney is the attorney for Jennings.

RELATED | ‘They’re in a cult.’ Father fights to see his toddler son as mother refuses to say where they are

In his video, Meyer says he is in Idaho Falls as a “border journalist” and calls Gaffney a “democratic socialist.”

“She’s directly responsible for attempting to abduct 3-year-old River Stanley from his loving mother, Sarah Stanley. Banks and Gaffney Trial Lawyers. Idaho Falls. We’ll be seeing you again,” Meyer says, looking into the camera.

Meyer and Walking for the Forgotten Ministry have repeatedly posted numerous threatening messages and videos on social media telling law enforcement, Magistrate Judge Cleve Colson, private investigator Brandon Hobbs, Jennings, Gaffney and others to “stand down.” He and the church have publicly shared email addresses, phone numbers, and home or business addresses of those connected to the case.

“We obey God…. not the Globalist Government. So many of you are fed up right now…GOOD. Now let’s start assembling in numbers they cannot control and take over all Government/Law Enforcement responsibilities ourselves,” one social media post says.

Who is Michael Lewis Arthur Meyer?

Meyer is well-known to law enforcement in Arizona and elsewhere. In 2014, he was involved in the standoff with federal officers at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada and was reportedly given the nickname “Screwy Louie.” A year later, he climbed an 80-foot light pole in Surprise, Arizona, waving an upside-down American flag. Police talked him down after four hours and he was charged with criminal trespass. The next month, he climbed the same light pole and stayed up for two hours.

Meyer has also been charged with burglary, theft and criminal damage.

MEYER SPOKE WITH EASTIDAHONEWS.COM EARLIER THIS MONTH:

Tim Steller, a columnist with the Arizona Daily Star, has covered Lewis for years. In 2018, he wrote a column headlined, “Nobody is stopping activist’s intimidation, vigilante tactics.”

This was after Meyer found a homeless camp in Tuscon he said had been used as a child-sex-trafficking site. It had not been used for child-sex-trafficking camp, news reports said, but the claim reportedly gained Meyer thousands of followers online, who sent him gift cards in support.

“That year he also demonstrated his ongoing disregard for the system. He skipped a trial in which he was a defendant — he was tried and convicted of assault in absentia in Tucson City Court in July 2018 for pepper-spraying somebody in Santa Rita Park,” Stellar wrote in a column on March 5.

The minister, who is not a veteran, has posted conspiracy videos on social media about sex trafficking and veteran homelessness. He claims to have run nine homeless shelters and helped 14,000 immigrant children who were “dumped” on his property in Arizona. He asks his followers to send money to assist in his “rescue operations.”

Meyer served time in jail in 2019 after being charged with criminal trespass. He’s allegedly destroyed $6,500 worth of water stations maintained by Humane Borders as he claimed the organization and other humanitarian groups were facilitating child sex trafficking.

“Obviously, that’s not the mission of these groups. Humane Borders and other humanitarian groups in southern Arizona work to keep people from dying when they cross the borderlands, especially in the summer, by putting out water bottles or maintaining semi-permanent water stations,” Stellar wrote.

Meyer was convicted of four counts of criminal damage and one count of trespassing in December in connection to damaging the water systems. He did not show up for sentencing in January, and an arrest warrant was issued, but he has not been taken into custody.

What’s next?

Gaffney tells EastIdahoNews.com Meyer did not become involved in Jennings’ custody case until recently, and he’s “threatened and intimidated the system because he doesn’t like the outcome.”

“It is disturbing that he’s threatened me online repeatedly, and now he’s shown up at my office. He is stalking me and threatening a judge, and he’s inciting other people to stalk and intimidate,” Gaffney says.

WATCH OUR INTERVIEW WITH LEE JENNINGS HERE:

Local law enforcement is aware that Meyer is in the area, but nobody seems to know where Stanley is hiding with River. Gaffney says while the threats against her and others are concerning, the bigger issue is the fact Stanley is not complying with a court order for her to turn River over to Jennings.

“I think anybody who is assisting Sarah Stanley in hiding from law enforcement should be arrested and charged for custodial interference and kidnapping,” Gaffney says. “(Meyer) is engaged in a conspiracy to commit kidnapping. That’s more important than stalking me or you – it’s the kidnapping that he’s involved in. He is involved in keeping this child from his lawful parent.”

If you have information on River Jennings’ whereabouts, call police.

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