Christian Innocence Project aids the falsely accused
Richard Rossi, a minister and award-winning filmmaker, announced the start of the Christian Innocence Project to support those who have been arrested and falsely accused of crimes.
Rossi himself was falsely accused in the 1990s of an assault charge that became fodder for front page tabloid stories. Rossi was exonerated by evidence and witnesses, overcoming the negative and defamatory publicity against him on the internet.
“The scripture says Satan is a liar and the accuser of the brethren,” Rossi said. “It took decades for my case to be completely cleared by evidence and in the court of a public opinion.”
Rossi also thanks God he had leading defense attorney Jim Ecker on his side when he was falsely accused.
“There are men and women that have sat in jail for decades and DNA evidence later clears them. It’s important for someone who does not have experience in the criminal justice system if they’re falsely accused and arrested to get the best possible defense attorney they can and not just rely on what the state tells them to do with public defenders,” Rossi said.
The Christian Innocence Project includes a intercessory prayer team for each case they take on and enrolls people that write to and visit those in prison who are falsely accused.
“Jesus said in Matthew 25, ‘When I was in prison, you visited me,” Rossi said. “This is one of the things that are the basis for His separating the sheep and the goats. Sadly, too many think because someone is arrested or accused they’re automatically guilty. Until someone is convicted by a jury of their peers they are presumed innocent.”
Eternal Grace also brings the arts to prisoners as part of the rehabilitation process. Rossi, a professional guitarist and music teacher at L.A. Valley College, gives guitar lessons to prisoners and has brought famous musician friends with him to perform concerts for inmates. Rossi screened his award-winning films “Sister Aimee: The Aimee Semple McPherson Story,” “Baseball’s Last Hero: 21 Clemente Stories,” and “Canaan Land” for inmates and discussed the filmmaking process with them.
One of the participants in Rossi’s Eternal Grace ministry is L.A. County Jail Chaplain, Jozy Pollock, who has ministered to high-profile inmates like Robert Downey Jr., the Menendez brothers, and rockers Billy Preston and Tommy Lee. Other high-profile inmates Eternal Grace writes to include Pamela Smart in New York.
“The prisoners are like my kids, my children in the faith,” Pollock said in the documentary “On Faith Alone: The Jozy Pollock Story” which chronicles the prison ministry.
“Jesus Himself and the apostles were falsely accused by authorities. Most of the Bible was written in prison by the apostles,” Rossi said. “The light is shining into these prisons.”
Chaplain Ray Marziale
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