"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Thursday, May 17, 2012

An Analysis of Chuck O'Neal's Press Release - He is Digging an Even Deeper Hole for Himself and His Church

I guess Chuck O'Neal and Beaverton Grace Bible Church (BGBC) are worried that the parking lot at their church this Sunday might look like the picture at left, after the avalanche of bad publicity they have received over their recent defamation lawsuit against Julie Ann Smith and four other former church members.

So, Chuck and BGBC decided to help their case by issuing a "press release" yesterday. A press release might be in order, given all the negative press - maybe a brief statement that Chuck stands by his allegations, a call for people to not rush to judgment, asking people to let the justice system do what it is supposed to do once all the facts are put to a jury.

The only problem is, this isn't a "press release" like that. It is a press release that dwarfs even Chuck's amended complaint. It is a 5500-word, 18 page long essay in which Chuck makes another accusation against the defendants, he states how his lawsuit is not just to defend him but to actually defend God and Christ, and then defends the theology of a Christian suing another Christian. None of this helps his case, and none of it helps his public image.

First, let's look at this paragraph from the "press release":
"....a member of this group called the police and the DHS to deliver a false report accusing Pastor O’Neal of physically abusing his own children and allowing pornography to be distributed to adolescents in the church. He, his family, and the church were subsequently investigated by the authorities and the case was dismissed as unfounded."
With an important hearing before the judge in just a few days, Chuck decides to add another charge against Julie Anne and the co-defendants. A few things to point out about the statement above:

By including this new allegation that is NOT in the lawsuit, in a press release explaining the charges of defamation, is to insinuate that the defendants maliciously, knowingly, filed a FALSE police report as a part of their alleged defamation. After all, there is nothing wrong, in fact to the contrary it is noble and brave (and in most cases required by law) when a church member has the courage to report facts or even rumors of abuse by a minister or church members....UNLESS, the person maliciously, knowingly, files a false police report to harass someone. That seems to be what Chuck is saying by putting this information in his press release. In my view, Chuck is treading dangerously close to defamation himself, stating as fact that the people he is suing filed a false police report - which is to commit a crime - about him in order to defame him.

Later in the press release Chuck says:
"Families cannot continue to be threatened by false allegations of abuse. "
There you have it. Part of his reason for filing the suit is because families are continuing to be threatened by "false allegations of abuse." Families are never threatened by allegations of abuse - even if an investigation is conducted and no charges are filed. No, Chuck, families are protected by people who report allegations of abuse. UNLESS, people are running around committing the crime of making false, baseless, malicious allegations to defame and harass, which must be what Chuck is saying here else he would not have brought it up in the context of this lawsuit!

If Chuck knows for a fact that the defendants made a false child abuse claim against him, why is THAT not listed as an offense in his lawsuit? Did he file a report with the authorities so they could investigate whether someone made a false police report? If the allegation is important enough to put in a press release justifying his lawsuit, why not put it in the lawsuit as a statement of fact? A quote of calling the church "creepy" IS in the lawsuit, but a false police report alleging abuse is NOT?

Sadly, I don't think Chuck even realizes the harm he is doing by making a public statement such as this. The biggest obstacle in getting church members to report abuse in their churches is the fear of retribution for making accusations against the "man of God".  It is the fear that they will not be believed, and that the minister and his peers will vilify those that make the report, or even the victim himself/herself. Chuck's accusations of malicious false claims of abuse in a public forum against former church members only makes it less likely someone in the future will ever dare to report abuse at his church should it ever occur. Another reason for the BGBC church parking lot to look like the above photo.

And doesn't this sound familiar? A minister doesn't like what a critic is saying about them publicly, doesn't appreciate harsh criticism, so the minister and those defending him at the church decide to make public statements insinuating that the critics are criminals. "Yep, you all just don't know the real story about these critics (wink-wink)". Chuck, you have learned well from your peers on what NOT to do in response to your critics.

Next, Chuck decides to dig himself into a bigger hole by stating the theological implications of his lawsuit, that really it is not just about him being defamed. He is not just defending himself, but he is defending God, too. Yes, God is sovereign, but he still needs Chuck to intervene in our courts to defend God's character.

Says Chuck:
"For three and a half years this group has been engaged in a public, church to church, and World Wide Web defamation, showing their willingness to discredit God, harm the church, harm wives, harm children, and harm the testimony of Christ's Gospel. It is BGBC's firm conviction that this cannot continue. The ministry of the local church and the Gospel cannot continue to be hindered."
Courts absolutely do not want to involve themselves in theological squabbles. Chuck views this lawsuit as a means to stop his gospel from being hindered. This is the same old story - to criticize the pastor publicly for his spiritual abuse, for personnel decisions he has made, or how the money is spent, or any number of other things, is to "discredit God", it is to "harm the church", and by golly you're even harming "the testimony of Christ's Gospel", and it is to "hinder" the ministry of the local church. Yes, pastors everywhere, Chuck is filing this lawsuit for YOU so that "the local church" (that is you!) will not continue to be hindered by these evil bloggers!

Seminaries are teaching these men that they are God's modern day prophets, the 501(c)3 religious organizations that employ them are the Holy of Holies, and criticism of either is to defame God and Jesus himself.

When preachers act like Chuck, their church just might become the "Holy of Holies" - the inner sanctuary where no man but the high priest himself enters.

73 comments:

Doulos1066 said...

I've wondered why he has not sued about specific allegations.

New BBC Open Forum said...

When preachers act like Chuck, their church just might become the "Holy of Holies" - the inner sanctuary where no man but the high priest himself enters.

Reminds me of a choir member's remark about the cantankerous guy named Mike who played Caiaphas, the high priest, in a former church's passion play. During dress rehearsals at his new church the actors were annoyed by the clanging bells that were sewn to the hem of Caiaphas' robe.

Someone who'd also participated in the former church's passion play asked why there were bells on Caiaphas' robe, and this fellow choir member explained how no one but the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies, so they sewed bells on his garment and tied a long rope around his ankle so that if they didn't hear the bells jingling for a long length of time they would assume he'd died and they could pull him out by the rope.

"So why didn't they put bells on Mike's costume?"

"Well," he replied, "no one cared if he died."

I'm thinking the Chuckster may find himself in the same position -- a high priest without a rope.

Anonymous said...

They need some training on what a press release is. 5,500 words is NOT a press release, and is even longer than most white papers.

The more words it takes, the weaker your self-defense and finger-pointing become.

Anonymous said...

Now I know why there are no bells on the FBCJAX TROLL's robe.

Victorious said...

When preachers act like Chuck, their church just might become the "Holy of Holies" - the inner sanctuary where no man but the high priest himself enters.

Amen!! And the clergy/laity caste system continues....

Anonymous said...

I'm sure many people have already told him that this is a no-win situation. He's seen how Mac lost when he tried something similar.

Reminds me of the quote from the film Citizen Kane:

"He's going to need more than one lesson. And He's going to get more than one lesson."

Anonymous said...

How could anybody possibly hinder God?

Anonymous said...

Anony. 12:38:

NEWS FLASH- Mac did not "lose".

God gave Mac the victory.

There were elements that were removed from FBC and I promise you we do not miss these malcontents.

Mac is re-visioning FBC.

Mac is winning souls to FBC.

Sometimes for a tree to grow, it must be pruned.

God pruned FBC and now it is growing

To God be the glory.

Another friend said...

Revisionist history. Mac lost, made an apology, probably paid the Dog enough to cover his attorney fees, costs, and then some. Would have been better to have offered mediation and apologized long ago.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Amazing how the TROLL gets around! Last week he was a member of Bellevue. This week he's back at FBC Jax. I think he's alternately been a member of FBC Dallas, Perry Noble's church, Furtick's church, Robert Morris's church and Mars Hill. Did I leave out any?

Moniker said...

How does Chuck know who called DHS, anyway? If the laws are the same in Oregon as in my state, DHS may not reveal the identity of those making reports of abuse. Isn't this mere conjecture on his part?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Moniker - I do believe it is mere conjecture on his part. There is much more to this story, and I believe if this case gets beyond the anti-SLAPP motion and gets into a discovery phase with depositions and interrogatories, this will prove to be embarrassing for Chuck.

tikatu said...

The law in OR is that reporters of child abuse/neglect are kept confidential unless ordered to appear in court as a witness or a judge orders their name to be revealed.

On confidentiality from the Oregon DHS FAQs

Chris Gilliam said...

Dog, I have read your post for a while. I think this one topic, that is far on the west cost, is one you ought not rush to judgment. There is much to comment on, but I will just use and anecdote to hopefully help the dialog.

When I was in seminary, a young family who had 5 children, was anonymously reported as child abusers after the birth of the sixth child, since the newborn suffered a broken collar bone. DHS came in abruptly and removed all children, including the 2 week old infant. The poor parents where at wits end, seeing that the allegations were anonymous and that the State had now taken full control, prior to any investigation.

The investigation lasted 3 moths. Fortunately, the foster care families were Christians and really assisted the disrupted children well. I encourage the young family to sue the state and the accusing parties to perhaps restrain such reckless allegations from becoming so damaging to some future family. The refused.

Turns out the allegations were made by some overly sensitive pediatric (christian) who was new to the field. This pediatric, did not take anything into consideration but the broken bone, which was later discovered to have happened during the birthing process. A lot of pain occurred from a spurious allegation.

Please pray for those involved in the ruckus out west, and refrain from jumping to conclusion. We are not there and it is not fair to be judge and jury over this pastor or those accusing him. Let those out west deal with it. Jesus does love His broken bride.

Anonymous said...

"Amazing how the TROLL gets around! Last week he was a member of Bellevue. This week he's back at FBC Jax. I think he's alternately been a member of FBC Dallas, Perry Noble's church, Furtick's church, Robert Morris's church and Mars Hill. Did I leave out any?"

Now I can see why he was supporting Ergun Caner. He's just like him.

Anonymous said...

"NEWS FLASH- Mac did not "lose".

Sure he did. He lost money (settlement paid to WD). He lost his pride (forced to apologize under court order). He lost his reputation in the community. He lost time - spent days settling this law suit. He lost respect from the police department by dragging them into his little petty battle. He lost authority by making a pronouncement from the pulpit and then apologizing for it - how can you trust anything he says at this point. When a pastor loses respect and authority he just lost it all.

How you can continue to worship a loser, I don't know.

You must be a loser yourself.

Anonymous said...

I think the Troll introduces some refreshing humor. I get to hear the old phrases-"give him the victory,"winning souls." You don't get to hear people talk like that out in the real world, and after you've been out of church for awhile, it's strange, yet sorta comforting to hear the old phrases.

Anonymous said...

""You must be a loser yourself.""

These are the "Christians" that are trying to "crucify" Mac.

Jesus said..."By their fruits you will know them."

These Trolls that throw out hatred and venom and then want to demonize Mac are the heights of hypocrisy.

Mac is a soul winner.
Mac is a prayer warrior.
Mac is a Bible scholar.
Mac is an international leader.

The REAL reason Mac apologized and settled the lawsuit was because the Holy Spirit told him too...not some lame lawyer.

I respect him Anon. 2:20...respect is something you need a little more of.

Heb 13:17 "Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say"

Anonymous said...

NEWS FLASH- Mac did not "lose".

Sure he did. He lost money (settlement paid to WD). He lost his pride (forced to apologize under court order). He lost his reputation in the community. He lost time - spent days settling this law suit. He lost respect from the police department by dragging them into his little petty battle. He lost authority by making a pronouncement from the pulpit and then apologizing for it - how can you trust anything he says at this point. When a pastor loses respect and authority he just lost it all.

================================
Anon 2:20 pm

You are so right! FBC as well as the SBC both lost their reputation - they lost members, but the nieve
will replace them. This once great church has lost respect - the Sunday School keeps it going - not Mac!

As far as the resident troll's comments, I believe him/her to be a member of FBC as well as being educated - I commend W/D for approving their stupid "infactual" remarks.

Thy Peace said...

The REAL reason Mac apologized and settled the lawsuit was because the Holy Spirit told him too...not some lame lawyer.

The real reason:
The original judge in the defamation lawsuit was replaced by one of the best friends of retired judge A.C. Soud. Judge Soud, whose name has been mostly kept out of the newspapers, was front and center in orchestrating the events at First Baptist Church, Jacksonville that led to a trespass warning issued against the Rich family. Judge Soud was Chairman of the Trustees at First Baptist Church , Jacksonville at the time the trespass warning was being issued to the Rich family. Last week, Soud's friend and fellow judge handling the lawsuit recused himself from the case. He apologized to Mr. Rich and his attorney for not knowing the extent of Judge Soud's involvement in the events. An out of county judge was then chosen last week to replace the judge and adjudicate future lawsuit proceedings.

First Baptist Church, Jacksonville reached settlement with the Rich family before the end of last week, and the statement of apology was read on Sunday morning. The Spirit moves in mysterious ways, His powers to behold, as does the legal system too! Real Christian life involves calling a spade a spade.

tikatu said...

Troll 5/17, 9:51 said,

"Mac is winning souls to FBC."

That's funny; I thought Mac was supposed to be winning souls for Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ > FBCJax. If Mac is winning souls for his church and not the Savior, we know where his heart is.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I see that "anonymous" Memphis hate is mixing with "anonymous" Jacksonville hate. Unfortunate--but even more so when whispered gossip has a half-truth in it. "New BBC Open Forum" (and there's the world's most oxymoronic moniker), you thought a little slander about me would be cute, right? "Hey, he'll never know about it!" Imagine my surprise when I got an e-mail today from someone who keeps tabs on people like you, asking why in the world I was still under attack.

Remember what Pastor Rogers used to say about half-truths? When he said, succinctly, that taking half the truth and representing it as all the truth turned that half-truth into a lie? You've done that a lot over the years, so I'd think you'd have gotten better at it; apparently, that's not the case.

As Paul Harvey liked to say, "And now, the rest of the story."

Yes, people used to tell that joke about me at Bellevue. A lot. Oh, and don't think I didn't know about it. Know who came up with that joke?

I did.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a fan of self-deprecating humor. Always liked that joke--never failed to get a chuckle. Shame you didn't mention that part while having to pull me into your little diatribe.

Your non-Christian, anti-Christian, anti-church behavior got old a long time ago, but at least your site devolved into nothing more than a bitter kaffeeklatch, so the harm you can actually do is quite minimal, if you're able to still have any effect at all on the real world.

I really don't want to have to pay attention to your junk again, so a sincere apology from you will suffice. And since this is the first, and last, time I'd care to visit here, post your apology here and send me an e-mail link to mikebratton@gmail.com.

You'd think by now you'd at least sign your name to little verbal Molotovs, but that would be like asking you to clean up your act--too much to ask.

--Mike


Oooh, there's a blast from the past! Hi, Mike. I see you're still as full of horse pucky as ever. It wasn't my intent for you to see or not see my comment, but it's fascinating to see a simple comment get such a passionate response. Nice to know I can still get under your skin so easily, Mikey! :-D

The point I was making in my previous comment wasn't about you. It was about Chuck O'Neal, a man whose pompous assedness does remind me a lot of you, but I realize that's a concept you must find difficult to grasp -- that the world doesn't revolve around you and your magniloquent opinions. (See? I can use a thesaurus, too!)

I'm sure you've got "people" who "keep tabs on people like me." People like me? LOL! I bet this blog gets hits from Birmingham every day. And let me remind you the Bible has something to say about judging the state of another person's soul, namely, don't do it.

As for you making up that joke about yourself, that doesn't even make sense, but making sense isn't exactly your strong suit. (You're not a very good liar either.) It's funny, but everyone I know who knows you thinks you're a jackass.

A friend who was in the choir at Germantown Baptist after she and several Bellevue people joined there told me that story. This was when Jim Whitmire was still minister of music at GBC. The guy who made the quip, and it sounds exactly like something he'd say, was someone you'd know. It was in reference to the bells on the GBC actor's costume. Apparently it dawned on the woman asking that BBC's Caiaphas costume never had bells.

So, got any sagacious insights into the lawsuit? I bet you think she's got it coming for posting an anonymous comment! Face it, Mike. Your enormous ego wouldn't let you publish anything anonymously if your life depended on it. I bet the sight of your name in print sends a tingle up your leg every time you see it.

New BBC Open Forum said...

P.S. I forgot my apology. I'll just post it here and skip the PM if that's okay with you. I'm sure you've been checking in all evening in anticipation. So here goes...

Mike, I'm sincerely sorry you're such a sanctimonious donkey.

Anonymous said...

If she did what is alleged, she deserves to get sued back to the stone age.

People who speak should justly be held accountable for their words and the consequences of their words. If someone says something that is untrue and it costs you your reputation, and therefore, money then you have to pay up.

In this case can you imagine what it is costing Chuck to get the lies straigtened out?

Sheesh...anyone that thinks a preacher should just roll over needs to get their butts sued. Taking cheap shots at your pastor is not a sporting event.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Chris Gilliam - thanks for posting, yes, I do understand false allegation reports like the one in particular you cite can occur, and they can be traumatic for a family who is falsely accused.

However, what Chuck is claiming, I think, is that someone who apparently made allegations of physical abuse and something or other to do with pornography, did so as part of a defamation process against him. He better be able to back that up, because that allegation will come up in his depo and he will be questioned about all of the facts surrounding his claim that Julie or one of the other defendants falsely accused him by making a false police report.

My other point is that in churches, the predominant problem is not that too many false or unfounded allegations are made against ministers for abuse, it is that too much is NOT reported. Thus, Chuck's open declaration seems to make it more likely that someone would not want to report allegations of abuse next time, for fear that Chuck and the church will publicly expose them as Chuck did in his press release - which may not even be true.

Anonymous said...

"The more words it takes, the weaker your self-defense and finger-pointing become."

When words are many, sin is not absent...
-- Proverbs 10:19

Anonymous said...

I have 2 questions.

What gives her the right to exercise free speech without accepting the consequences?

Her words cost him reputation, and in a worldly sense, money. The cost is some amount to try and straighten the mess out. The cost to get goverment agencies involved in non-sense. The cost of possibly having to uproot a family and move to a less desirable place.


My second question. What prevents Chuck from bringing suit to recover what he is out and protect his reputation?

Perhaps she did not read 1 Corinthians 6 completely and thought that he would turn the other cheek. I really have to question whether Julieanne is a true believer in the first case.

It is about time that a pastor did this. If someone thinks that hurling insults and making libelous statements toward ministers is a sporting event then they had better wake up.

Choose your words carefully. Make sure that you can prove your words before you speak them. Believe nothing that you hear and half of what you see.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcNrOo5FzwY

Julie Anne said...

Anon: I exercised my right to free speech. The words I expressed are true. What seems to be the problem? You don't like my words?


Tell me again, why are you questioning whether I'm a Believer? (And furthermore, is that your responsibility?)

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 7:28 - who says Julie Anne is not accepting responsibility? She most certainly is. She has filed an anti-SLAPP lawsuit because she believes the lawsuit is baseless and an attempt to silence her free speech! And she refuses to be silenced, and is still speaking on the issues that Chuck O'Neal is trying to stop her from speaking about.

And Chuck has the right to sue, absolutely. And I actually agree with Chuck's defense of his lawsuit that he posted in his "press release". He has the right as a Christian and an American to sue, and Julie Anne and her lawyer are going to defend her rights vigorously.

Anonymous said...

If your words are true, which means that you can back them up with factual reference, then you should have no problem. It is not enough to simply speak the truth, however. You should not bear "False Witness." You can interepret that any way you like. The bottom line is that you have a responsibility to yourself, your family, and your neighbors to state only what you can prove. Otherwise, the other party has rights as well.

I am sure that there is much more to this than I am aware of. With everything that I have read, it seems to me that you have a few miles to go to get over the hill of preponderance. I believe your problem is the "Absence of Evidence." By evidence, I mean something substantive as opposed to "free speech" or "hearsay."

You have the right to speak, and Chuck has the right to bring suit and recover his damages. I think in the end, unless there is something substantive, you are going to wind up settling up on what you owe him.

Just my opinion. I would not want to be in your shoes though.

faith said...

I have been going on these sites for some time anon.
One thing you must realize - there is real abuse in churches today and unfortunately the only way that one who has been a victim can voice real concern about what is happening is through the blogosphere. Pastors and elders are not listening and showing true humility or servanthood to their flock. If you feel that Julie should be sued then I guess we would have to take all the Internet, Facebook, and Twitter and place it in contempt too. Seems like I have seen where a certain CJ Mahaney tried to blackmail one of his own members of his church and blab all kinds of info. about this members son- now how about "the pot calling the kettle black."

Anonymous said...

It’s a pleasant summer Sunday morning. Worship is under way at a small Southern Baptist church. In the pews, there’s a couple visiting for the first time. The pastor announces upcoming events in the church.

But before he begins the next hymn, he’s interrupted. A church member jumps to his feet—and he’s angry.

“Why can’t you mention the church picnic on Thursday?” the parishioner snaps rudely. "You don't know what the h___ you are doing to our Church!"

"We ought to fire you next week", screams another parishioner.

After the service, the pastor shakes hands with the visitors as they leave.

“It was a wonderful service and the sermon was beautiful,” they tell him. “But we’ll never be back. If this is the way the congregation treats the pastor, we don’t want any part of it.”

This is happening everyday but never gets reported.

Bill said...

Mike's assertion that this site's comments are "hateful" seemed rather droll after reading this on his blog:

http://thebrattonreport.blogspot.com/2007/12/bit-of-site-housekeeping.html

Arce said...

The burden of proof is on the plaintiff, in this case Chuck, to prove the falsity of the statements alleged to be defamation. It is not easy; they may be opinion and not statements of fact, and are thereby protected under the First Amendment. Second, even if false, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant knew they were false or were made with reckless disregard as to whether they were true or not, especially if the plaintiff is a "public" person (a pastor is probably such).

Third, the plaintiff must prove monetary damages resulted from the false statement, that is, a harm that caused financial loss. It cannot be speculative loss, so saying "I planned to make more money and did not" holds no water.

For the above reason, I think that this plaintiff will have a hard time getting this suit to trial and a harder time winning.

Anonymous said...

To me, this whole scenario exposes the church as being something other than what I always thought it was.

If I knew a church had a blog writing against it, that would give me pause. The blog owner MIGHT be a nutcase, but more likely has at least a partly legitimate complaint of some kind.

But what REALLY gives me pause, is knowing that the church is taking someone to court. THAT, in my mind, brings the church down to a very human, unimpressive level.It reveals that they are NOT different-filled with the Holy Spirit, full of God's power, on a higher spiritual plain, taking part in the sufferings of Jesus, turning the other cheek, etc.

They are actually a business led by real men with LAWYERS! Who needs lawyers if you have the God who created the universe on your side? Who needs lawyers if you're filled with the HOLY SPIRIT??

It just really removes the curtain and reveals the little guy operating the controls, just like in the Wizard of Oz. It just gives the lie to what they preach.

Anonymous said...

Say what you will about the current state of affairs at Bellevue Baptist church. Whoever it was that cast Mike as Caiaphas was spot on!

Anonymous said...

I am afraid old Chuck is the poster boy for the future of the SBC...err...GBC. This is where we are headed with all our rabid YRR guys planting Acts 29 Driscollite churches and Mahaney of SGM moving to be near SBTS. And old Dever of CHBC teaching that elders hold the keys to the kingdom and can decide who is saved in "their" churches.

Welcome to the SBC's future.

Anonymous said...

"Mac is a soul winner"

Silly me. I thought it was the Holy Spirit. But Mac appreciates your idolatry of him, I am sure. (Keep those checks coming)

Anonymous said...

"Anon: I exercised my right to free speech. The words I expressed are true. What seems to be the problem? You don't like my words? "

Julie Ann, It is pastor worship. That is the real problem. Pastor worship is all over Christendom.

Anonymous said...

"Unfair Burden" is usually used by legal authorities to switch the burden of proof to the defendant in cases where a party is required to prove a negative. The term refers to situations where inherent evidentiary difficulties prevent equity. Wikipedia

In cases of libel or defamation, the burden of proof is on the defendant. Someone, apparently Julie, has to prove their statement regarding the pedophile with access to the nursery. Chuck has to prove who said or wrote it and the amount of damages. BTW the news media is not reporting the most damaging statements. Julie may regret her further and more recent statements as she seems intent on taking credit for the literary work.

Freedom of speech is not a cloak to be used by those seeking to damage others in retaliation, to gain hits on a blog site, to get financial gain, or for personal amusement at others expense.

In my opinion, there is a problem. Even if what was written is true, the statements have to be proven. Anyone can see the damage that a nursery scandal could cause a church. Who would leave their children or even attend a church that allowed known pedophiles access to their children?

Anonymous said...

"In cases of libel or defamation, the burden of proof is on the defendant."

WRONG!

The defendant is always innocent until proven guilty.

An attorney said...

The plaintiff has the burden of proof of the following: who made the statement; the statement was false; the person who made it knew it was false or had reckless disregard as to whether it was true or false; and that the plaintiff was damaged in a way that money can cure, as in loss of business or loss of earnings. The last must not be speculative.

tikatu said...

Anon 6:18

I think you'd better read up on SLAPP and Anti-SLAPP lawsuits. What O'Neal has filed is a SLAPP lawsuit. Julie Anne has filed an Anti-SLAPP in response. Arce is right; the burden of proof is on O'Neal.

Also, an update on the court hearing.

Anonymous said...

Another wacko goes off in the pulpit

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/23/mixed-reactions-around-church-whose-pastors-anti-gay-rant-went-viral/

And their web site is down

www.prbcnc.com

Mike Bratton said...

The oxymoronic "Open Forum" individual has had years to publicly stand behind what he/she disseminates, but has yet to do so. "Consider the source," Pastor Rogers would say when he tossed such anonymous criticisms into the trash.

Oh, and for the individual who referenced my dormant blog: Note that issues aren't being discussed here, but gossip flies about and people are being vivisected. Love is absent here, and that's unfortunate.

--Mike

Anonymous said...

Mike,

I don't know you and perhaps you are not really like this (although I doubt it), but you come across as VERY condescending and arrogant in your comments. Isn't one of the signs of Christlikeness supposed to be a humble (not a haughty) spirit?

You should also probably watch self-refuting and hypocritical statements.

For example when you call this blog "hate" because it discusses issues and takes a certain position, you shouldn't be doing the exact same thing on your blog. Just a tip. Also when you criticize this blog, by your definition, you are practicing "hate" as well.

Of course liberals like to use that word to criticize their enemies while "hating" a politically correct group of people. If you don't agree with their philosophy, you probably shouldn't use their disingenuous tactics.

I'm also not finding any love in your comments so that's another subject you should avoid.

Anonymous said...

Mike even looks arrogant in his picture. Could you get your nose up any higher in the air? I looked up "Smug" in the dictionary and found that exact same photograph.

Arce said...

As an attorney, I must say that Julie Anne does not have to prove anything at all. The burden is on the plaintiff to prove defamation and damages. First, it must be proved that the statements are statements of fact and not opinion. Second, it must be proved that the statements are false. Third it must be proved that Julie Anne knew they were false or acted with actual malice in disregarding whether they were true or false. Fourth, the plaintiffs must prove that they were damaged and that means proving that money was lost as a result; it cannot be speculative (e.g., not "more people would have joined the church and tithed" in the future"). This is a very high burden.

I have read all of the filings on Julie Anne's behalf, and they are extremely well researched, documented and powerful.

Oregon has an anti-SLAPP law when a suit attempts to punish speech or publication. A motion has been filed which can result in the church and pastor being ordered to pay all of Julie Anne's reasonable attorney fees for defending her. I think she will win. The final hearing has been postponed because the plaintiffs (church and pastor) filed an amended pleading after Julie Anne's attorney filed the anti-SLAPP motion, so that both sides can prepare a brief regarding the effect of that.

Two additional issues are raised by Julie Anne's attorney in the anti-SLAPP motion. There are the First Amendment freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Since this dispute involves matters of religion, the plaintiffs have to show that this is not a dispute about faith, Bible, interpretation, what a pastor's role is, etc. That is, things that are in controversy in religious circles. When one attempts to stifle speech, there is a high burden to overcome.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same Mike Bratton guy who defended Steve Gaines all the time over at BBCOpenForum during the Paul Williams pedophile scandal?

Anonymous said...

ARCE - I am with you on almost everything you said. I think O'Neal is going to have a problem proving a half a million in damages.

I think that the plaintiff has a pretty good chance of defeating the anti-SLAPP.

I cannot imagine that the church actually had known pedophiles running around in the nursery. How could a statement like that be anything other than malicious? It seems that the state agency involved has already determined that the abuse claim was false and baseless.

At best the plaintiff will prevail on the principle and win a dollar.

I think that Julie may have some explaining to do before this is over.

Julie Anne said...

Anonymous 10:06: No, I think Chuck will have explaining to do. The sex offender is in custody and was convicted of sex crimes: rape and sodomy against minor. This will surely come out in court. Not sure where you are getting your info, but it's incorrect.

Arce said...

Anonymous,

Apparently there had been some issues that the family of the pedophile, a young adult, had shared with the pastor and possibly elders. It had not been shared further, and they did not report it to authorities. The young man was subsequently arrested and convicted. There were months between the pastor receiving the information and any action, during which time the young man frequented the nursery, where his mother often worked, but sometimes when she was not there. Julie Anne remembered him being there when she was there to nurse her baby, during the time in question.

So it is not malicious to report a fact that is true, and to prove defamation, it has to be proved to be false.

Anonymous said...

So Julie, to be clear; You are saying that Oneal and, possibly other members, knew of someone that was a convicted pedophile and that pedophile was given access to the nursery? You are saying that the staff allowed a known pedophile to have access to the nursery?

I stand by my earlier comment and the nice thing about a blog is that you cannot really twist the statement.

I cannot imagine that the church actually had known pedophiles running around in the nursery. How could a statement like that be anything other than malicious? It seems that the state agency involved has already determined that the abuse claim was false and baseless.

You keep trying to change the discussion around. Like I said you have a ways to go.

Every church's worst nightmare is for someone in a position of responsiblity to get convicted of anything and moreover, a crime against a child. Unfortunately, from time to time that sort of thing happens in every single church. Name one church that hasn't had some sort of scandal?

So let's see if you answer those three questions directly. I am betting that you are going to provide an answer to some other question if you reply at all.

Julie Anne said...

Anonymous 9:48 said: "It seems that the state agency involved has already determined that the abuse claim was false and baseless."


Not true: state agency investigated and did find children to have been sexually abused. The offender was then tried, convicted of rape/sodomy and sent to a correctional facility (where he currently remains). Both sides do not dispute this fact.


"You are saying that Oneal and, possibly other members, knew of someone that was a convicted pedophile and that pedophile was given access to the nursery?"

My understanding: the juvenile hadn't been convicted when Chuck found out about him, but they knew of the abuse. I was told they kept it quiet within the church rather than notifying authorities.



" You are saying that the staff allowed a known pedophile to have access to the nursery? "

The juvenile was the son of the person in charge of the nursery. He was around the nursery because of his mother's job. The last Sunday I was there, he was in the room with me and my baby. Because I was unaware that he was an offender, I could easily have asked him to watch my baby while I stepped out to the restroom, etc.

Julie Anne said...

PS All that is mentioned in the above post is similar to what was stated in my declaration which was submitted to the court. I believe it is all public now.

Arce said...

The pastor was aware of the situation which had not resulted in an arrest at that point in time, but subsequently did. That is what has been said repeatedly and what was in Julie's blog. The pastor had sufficient knowledge to at least bar the young adult man from the nursery and children's areas of the church, as a measure to protect the children. He chose instead to say and do nothing, putting more children at risk of abuse.

Anonymous said...

My understanding: the juvenile hadn't been convicted when Chuck found out about him, but they knew of the abuse. I was told they kept it quiet within the church rather than notifying authorities.
My understanding they found out I was told they
This might be your problem. You cannot go around speaking of fact when it is fiction or hear say. You really do not know first hand who knew what and when.

This is really very serious. You are potentially doing someone in by words that you write as fact. You seem like a very sincere person. For every bad preacher, there are a hundred good ones. For every good preacher, there are at least 10 bad parishoners or members that think nothing of spreading hate, discontent, rumor, and gossip. Preachers get accused of far more bad than they do good.

The difference between you and the dog is that at least he spoke the truth.(As far as I know) Dog admitted that he mishandled the way that he brought out his grievances. He failed to attempt to air his grievances quietly and privately. Although, I never really agreed with most of his opinions at least he was honest and stated such was opinion.

On the other hand Julie, you are speaking of hearsay and that is absolutely wrong and has nothing to do with freedom of speech.

Everything that I stated above is simply opinion.

Thy Peace said...

Anon @ May 27, 2012 4:15 PM:

There is no problem. Julie Anne will defend herself in a court of law. Everything will be in the open. I am sure lot of things hidden in this church will come out in the open. No problem at all.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Very true, Thy Peace. Having gone through two lawsuits over the past three years, I know first-hand what the "discovery process" is all about in these lawsuits. There will be interrogatories that both sides will have to provide written answers to, and there will be hours and hours of testimony given in depositions. The lawyers will leave no stone unturned.

It is not a pleasant process by any means. But it is necessary for the truth to come out, and for all sides to tell their story. It was only through the discovery process, after hours and hours of depositions in the first lawsuit against the JSO that we found that the JSO detective that pulled subpoenas wasn't just a member of the church, but was actually a deacon and appointed to the discipline committee at the time the subpoenas were pulled. After THAT unknown fact became known, the lawsuit settled.

So let the truth come out, and the story will be told, and I'm confident that Julie Anne will prevail, and the church and Chuck will be very embarrassed, and in the end Chuck will claim his embarrassment and defeat prove he is doing God's will, as he "suffers for Jesus". That is the craziness of modern evangelical Christianity.

Anonymous said...

It is going to be interesting to watch this one unfold.

Thy.....There might be something that comes out about Julie that will make her uncomfortable. That "nutty" preacher might not have a problem sharing those skeletons that he learns of. He does not seem to have any problem throwing her under the bus.

Julie Anne said...

Anonymous: I prefer Julie Anne to just Julie, please :)

You said: "The difference between you and the dog is that at least he spoke the truth."

Are you implying I'm not telling the truth?

You seem to be conjuring up speculations that you know nothing about. I'm not worried about the case. Most importantly, my attorney is not.


A note about the anti-SLAPP motion: there is the slight possibility that the case could go beyond the anti-SLAPP motion, but at this phase and during any appeal phase (if necessary), there will be no interrogatories. That is how anti-SLAPP motion works: all discovery is stayed once the motion is filed. Th anti-SLAPP motion is designed to be a speedy process so as not to waste precious court costs on frivolous lawsuits.

Anonymous said...

I am repeating your words. You admit that you made statements that you did not have first hand knowledge of at the time you wrote them. In fact, you do not appear to be sure of who knew what and when even today...yet you wrote them and admit it.

My understanding: the juvenile hadn't been convicted when Chuck found out about him, but they knew of the abuse. I was told they kept it quiet within the church rather than notifying authorities.


Key words: My understanding, I was told, they. I am not sure what you mean by imply or speculate here. In my opinion, you pretty clearly do not have first hand knowledge. The truth you can speak is what you witness first hand and the rest is merely gossip.

An opinion is what you perceive from your experience. For example, with everything I read, Chuck is wrong for launching a law suit that has no value and hurts the church. You are wrong for spreading the damaging gossip that you admitted above. Healing and reconciliation is very difficult to begin with.

My apologize for calling you by your first name only.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 4:15 said:

"(As far as I know) Dog admitted that he mishandled the way that he brought out his grievances. He failed to attempt to air his grievances quietly and privately."

No, I never admitted that I "mishandled" the way I brought out my grievances. To the contrary, I brought them out exactly as I wanted. In fact the response I received once they knew who I was, confirmed my fears which led me to speak anonymously in the first place.

And Julie Anne, of course my comments here about discovery are all immaterial if you prevail on the anti-SLAPP suit, which I think you will.

Anonymous said...

My apologies Dog, you admitted that you did not approach Brunson before you started blogging.

In my opinion, I believe that most would agree that the right way to handle difficult situations with people is to air your grievances privately. The sneaky way is to write bad things about them on the bathroom wall, or on a blog, annonymously.


I did not mean to write that you admitted that you were wrong. You are in the very least honest.

Julie Anne said...

Anon: I see where you are going with this. I'm trying to be very careful how I word things publicly. My declaration is much more clear and definitive. I include dates in the declaration, but would have to look them up to give you a clear answer. Sorry to cause confusion with my wording.


FBC: Yes, I know you knew about the motion, just wanted to share a bit about anti-SLAPP for others because it works so differently than normal cases. It appeared that it even confused Chuck's attorney by his responses at the hearing; he seemed to think he would get to question people and add more claims to the case.

I do agree with you that if it ever got to the discovery phase it would open up a whole can of worms. Chuck would have to turn over all of the (illegally?) recorded conversations he has done without people's knowledge, his files, computer. I would have no problem turning over my computer and notes. I have nothing to hide. Bring it on!

Thy Peace said...

Can we speculate that as Nixon's secretary was busy erasing crucial tapes, Chuck would be busy erasing the tapes and/or digital data.

Julie Anne said...

Thy Peace: I've often wondered what kind of filing system he must have to keep track of the recordings.

Also, interestingly, the pastor's wife's court declaration included a statement that she had just listened to a recording to prove what I said was false. So even she has been privy to listen to the recordings and she acknowledged it to the court. (Thank you, Mrs. O'Neal, for your contribution.)

Thy Peace said...

My guess is since it was a small church and if Chuck ever digitized his sermons to mp3 or equivalents, he would have done the same to the recordings. It is fairly easy to do even for computer neophytes. One can give long file names, so they can be descriptive and easy to find.

Thy Peace said...

BTW any digital voice recorders (very inexpensive too) records audio into mp3 for a while now and they are easy to transfer to a computer too.

Arce said...

Having filed suit, and having his spouse admit the existence of recordings, if he erased or otherwise destroyed any, that would be spoliation of evidence in the case. In that event, the rule of law is that it must be assumed that the evidence destroyed must have been adverse to the one destroying and favorable to the other side. It is a strong rule with severe consequences in order to discourage people from tampering with evidence.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the other party is not as dumb as some would have everyone think. One of the characteristics of a bully, narcissist, or sociopath is to paint others as having inferior mental intellect to make themselves appear more important and self-righteous. If the O'neals have the money to hold out in the informal settlement stage, this one could get really interesting. It appears that they have some money backing them.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Of course he has money backing him.

It is called "tithes and offerings".