According to Sheriff Thelbert 'David' Morgan's biography posted on the Florida Sheriff's Association official biography page, Sheriff Morgan stated under his photograph that he held a "Knighthood, Order of St. John of Jerusalem (OSJ)."
According to email responses from the Most Venerable Order of St. John of Jerusalem from London, England, and from its United States' affiliate sent to the author inquiring about the validity of Sheriff Morgan's claim, he is not a member. Furthermore, the medal he is wearing does not appear to belong to the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Malta (SMOM). Nor is Sheriff Morgan wearing a medal from the German-based Johanniter International.
Emails from the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, London and Washington, D.C.
In short, Sheriff Morgan's claim to hold a "Knighthood, Order of St. John of Jerusalem (OSJ)" is a lie and his claim is a fraud.
Photograph from the Florida Sheriff Association page for Escambia County
The Real Order of St. John of Jerusalem
There are many so-called Order of St. John, but there is only one real Order of St. John of Jerusalem. The short history of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem can be found on its "Our History" page. Here, I will just give the pertinent highlights.
The real Order of St. John of Jerusalem, headquartered in London, United Kingdom, originated in 1070. The "Roman Catholic Order of the Hospital of St John...is now known as The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta (or simply the Order of Malta)." The English supporters of the Roman Catholic Order, which had been expelled from Malta, were recognized by Queen Victoria "and their Order became an Order of the British Crown in 1888. They had founded an eye hospital in Jerusalem in 1882. They had already set up St John Ambulance to train people in first aid in 1877 and in 1887 their volunteers were organised into a uniformed Brigade to serve at public events." According to the official history, the Order of St. John of Jerusalem is "active in more than 40 countries."
The American affiliate is known as "The Priory in the USA of the Order of St. John." On its front webpage, it describes itself: "The Priory in the USA is the official branch of the Order of St John in the United States. The Order of St John is an order of chivalry and a major international humanitarian charity accredited to the United Nations, the branches of which provide health care and first responder services in over 40 nations around the world."
The emails provided to the public above and described below come from these two organizations--the only legitimate Order of St. John of Jerusalem. And, when the Mr. Mark Williams of the London headquarters states that Sheriff Morgan is not a member of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Malta (SMOM), this, too, comes from the only legitimate organization with that name.
The Email Responses to the Initial Inquiry
On May 25, 2015, I emailed the Order of St. John with the official biographical photograph of Sheriff Morgan. I gave no information other than the photograph and asked, "Can you verify that this medallion is from the Order of St. John of Jerusalem?"
On May 27, 2015, Mr. Mark Williams, Head of the Chancery, Order of St. John, sent the following response:
"Thank you for your e-mail and the embedded photograph.
The insignia around the gentlemen’s neck does not indicate membership of the Most Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem. Our insignia includes the heraldic beasts (lions and unicorns) that signifies our status as a (British) Order of Chivalry with HM The Queen as Sovereign Head.
The style of the crown and the absence of the heraldic beasts would suggest to me the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Malta (SMOM). Therefore the gentleman is also incorrect in describing himself as a Knight of the Order of St John of Jerusalem.
If you would like me to pursue this matter further, please provide me with his name and country of domicile. I will then pass this information on to:
a) If he lives in a country in which we are represented, our local establishment;
b) If he lives in a country in which we are not represented but SMOM is, the office of SMOM in Great Britain, so that they may forward it to their local establishment.
Yours sincerely, Mark Williams | Head of Chancery | The Order of St John"
On May 27, 2015, I responded giving his full legal name, Thelbert David Morgan, and his shortened name, David Morgan, and identified him as a Sheriff living in Pensacola, Florida, USA, and the photograph being his official photograph.
On May 27th, Mr. Williams then sent separate emails to Ms. Cheryl Lueck and Ms. Ruth Ann Skaff in the United States.
Later on May 27th, Ms. Lueck sent an email to Mr. Williams stating the following:
Thelbert David Morgan is not a member of the Order of St John through our Priory. I am familiar with almost all of the names of our members, and he is unknown to me. Of course, I searched our database by name, and I ran a report of all of our members in Florida to be sure. I can confirm that he is not a member."
On May 28th, Ms. Lueck informed Mr. Williams that Sheriff Morgan was not a member of the two affiliates of the SMOM and that he is not wearing an official medal from Johanniter International. Specifically, her email read:
SMOM has two associations on the east coast of the US (with offices in Florida), and we contacted both associations this morning. Mr. Morgan is not a member of SMOM. We also contacted Johanniter and received confirmation that Mr. Morgan is not wearing a legitimate Johanniter decoration."
On June 1, 2015, I phoned Mr. Williams in London asking about the status of his inquiries since I had not heard anything since May 27th. He then sent me the emails available above.
On June 1, 2015, Ms. Skaff provided the following information indicating that while there may still be further action taken regarding Sheriff Morgan, that his non-membership is a settled issue. According to Ms. Skaff:
"Dear Mr. Scaminaci,
There are a number of organizations and charities that have St John in their name.
Membership Manager Cheryl Lueck has informed you that Thelbert David Morgan, sometimes shortened to David Morgan, is not a member of The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.
I confirm that we have no relationship whatsoever with Mr. Morgan."
In summary, Sheriff Morgan is not a member of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. He is not a member of The Priory in the USA of the Order of St. John. And, he is not a member of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Malta (SMOM).
In other words, Sheriff Morgan's claim that he holds a "Knighthood, Order of St. John of Jerusalem" is a bald faced lie. He has lied to the residents and voters of Escambia County. He has lied to Florida Sheriff Association. He is a charlatan seeking to pad his resume with a non-existent honor he does not deserve and did not earn.