The Tune Has Changed For J.D. Partain And Here Are My Insights From His Arraignment

by Travis Mateer

Before getting to my impressions regarding why J.D. Partain shifted from confessing his sex offense crime to pleading NOT GUILTY in court yesterday, I’d like to bring attention to a video the Missoula Boxing Club put out about LEVERAGING boxing for kids. The video is a re-posting of a local news story:

The arraignment in Judge Marks’ courtroom on Monday wasn’t all that noteworthy outside the plea of NOT GUILTY, which is interesting considering how explicitly Partain acknowledged his surreptitious recording of a minor (emphasis mine):

Partain told investigators he installed the stereo in the girl’s bedroom. He activated his phone’s video recording via a smart watch that was connected to the device, according to charging documents.

“Partain stated he was ‘completely at fault for all of it,’” Handelman wrote.

The case was filed directly into Missoula County District Court last week. Partain is not currently in custody.

One of the reasons I attended this hearing is because I wanted to see who might appear in support of J.D. Partain. I was surprised to see a former client I knew from my days at the Poverello Center get up and leave after Partain’s hearing was over.

Outside the courtroom I spoke with this man, who I know to be a registered offender. I asked him why he showed up, and he said J.D. was his pastor, and he didn’t agree with the severity of the charge. He especially didn’t want to see the Boxing Club negatively impacted for something that wasn’t a big deal. I withheld my counter opinion on that point, and continued listening to this supporter tell me J.D. Partain only did what he did because of a drinking problem.

Will this excuse, delivered second-hand by a not-very-reliable narrator, be a part of the defense strategy? I can’t imagine that would be the case, considering the premeditation involved in what Partain has already confessed to doing, but I’ll keep it in mind as this case develops.

The importance of boxing, at least the IMAGERY of boxing, is shared by another local group who imagine themselves to be LEADING THE FIGHT against human trafficking in Montana. Can you guess who I’m talking about?

What a great quote with an equally great BOXING ring backdrop! Are there more than visual similarities between the LifeGuard Group and the Boxing Club? Yes there are, but in that moment I felt led (by the spirit) to tell the sex-offender-former-client about my interest in the LifeGuard Group, then I showed him the video of Lowell Hochhalter doing his wishing death upon his enemies thing from the pulpit.

One significant similarity is that both Lowell Hochhalter and J.D. Partain like to play PASTOR GUYS for Christ, though who actually benefits from what they preach remains to be seen. In Partain’s case, he was scheming in 2011 to use a cappella to bring people to a new kind of worship experience at Echo church. From the link (emphasis mine):

The drive for Echo came about when student minister J.D. Partain noticed a pattern in ideas and conversations amongst the college ministry. People felt there was a space to fill for a way to strengthen both the college group and the congregation as a whole especially through worship.

While a cappella worship is nothing new for Missoula Valley Church, Echo will be adding the concept of a praise team to the mix.

The praise team is comprised of eight singers, two people singing each of four harmonic parts. This team of eight is not considered to be a group of musical experts, but rather of individuals who have been rehearsed to sing accurately and therefore be able to guide those who are not familiar with the music.

“The encouragement is that you could take a motley group of voices and, with the right leadership, have a kind of worship no one has ever experienced,” says Partain.

Reframing something that’s essentially just a choir in order to help STRENGTHEN college kids–who just want to worship don’t you know–doesn’t age well from the vantage point of 2022.

And here’s another point: Partain doesn’t exist in a vacuum, he’s a product of a culture that historically hasn’t done well to protect its own people, to put it very mildly.

So what other churches has J.D. Partain been involved with? And what other poor offenders has he ministered to? And how many other devices with remote recording features has he planted in places, like the place where sweaty 9-19 year olds might get cleaned up after a good match with the gloves on?

Next week there’s some question as to the conditions of Partain’s release, specifically the no-contact condition with the witness (his wife). As time allows, I’ll keep on eye on this case, because the members of the culture who DID NOT show up in court will be reluctant to receive the context I suspect is waiting to be uncovered.

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Thanks for reading!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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7 Responses to The Tune Has Changed For J.D. Partain And Here Are My Insights From His Arraignment

  1. Fighting Back With Faith says:

    It is just amazing at what lengths these entities go to support and cover for these SICK individuals. Not surprised that the “Pedogaurd Group” is lurking in the background.

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  7. Claire says:

    I’m curious to hear more about this. I was in his youth group when I was a teenager. I wasn’t terribly surprised.

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