Friday, July 27, 2012

The News and My Thoughts

As many of you know, I have been at a Christian high school summer camp as a counselor since Sunday.  We had been expecting the results any day, so I had my smartphone which is really pretty much useless when you are in a remote area.  There's one spot out by the flagpole where I can get internet about 80% of the time.  Crazy.  But thankfully, my attorney told me what time her mail came so I didn't have to keep checking throughout day.

So yesterday, I was with one of my campers having precious one-on-one time.  We had been talking about 30 minutes or so on the dining hall deck (close to the same place of the earlier picture I posted - Sunday).  I noticed one of the camp directors hanging around.  After the meeting with my camper was finished, the director told me that there was a phone call from my attorney and it was good news.  I tried to get to the flagpole to get to the e-mail quickly, but the internet was not cooperating, so I went to the office and called Linda.  The news was better than I imagined - every single claim dismissed.  We only spoke for a couple minutes, but oh how sweet that news was.  

I ran outside to tell the staff person the news and she said, "Go!, Go!" and shooed me out.  All four camp directors knew of the case and knew that I would need to have a little time to send out information.  So, back up those stairs I sprinted, grabbed my laptop and came to the counselor's lounge where there was decent internet.  

I sat down on the couch and with tears in my eyes, I tried to absorb what this meant.  My attorney, Linda Williams, had prepared me that there certainly was the possibility that the lower court might miss something or be confused about something.  When my close friends asked how I thought the case would go, I told them I thought that everything would get dismissed except the sexual abuse comment.  I based this on the judge's question in the courtroom and also the media response.  I knew, of course, the phrase wasn't defamatory, but that's where I thought it might get hung up and was mentally prepared to deal with that.

My attorney was nothing short of amazing.  She was confident from the very beginning.  Why?  Because she knows the law.  She knew our phrases were not defamatory.  From our first meeting where she, Hannah, and I met at a coffee shop, Linda went over the original complaint with a pencil or pen and pointed out phrase after phrase:  "no, that's not defamatory, that's opinion", "this is just not defamatory".  Or she pointed out that phrases had to do with religion and "the courts will not touch those".  She believes in First Amendment rights and what it means for Americans.  I am so thankful for Linda, for the many, many hours she worked on our case, and the many combined hours she spent on the phone with Hannah, Meaghan, and me.  She was so reassuring the entire time.   Linda Williams, thank you so much!! 

So here we are - the case100% dismissed.  Wow.  I saw a comment wondering if my former pastor/church can appeal.  I asked my attorney this question.  Yes, they can appeal.  I would not be surprised if they do.   I am not afraid.  First Amendment is Linda's thing.  Simply put, our words were and are not defamatory.  If they appeal and it goes to a higher level court, the higher level courts have more experience with defamation and it will be even more clear to them.  I am not worried.  

You see those stairs right there?  I am intimately acquainted with these stairs.  Did I say intimately?   Yes, intimately.  You cannot see all of the stairs.  There are two sets of stairs.  I have to climb around 55 steps on the right stair case or around 65 steps on the left side to get to my cabin.  The first day I was at camp, I realized that by 10AM, I had already climbed them four times.  You do the math and tell me how many times those babies are climbed each day.  I was going to say how awesomely buff my legs are becoming, but that hasn't happened quite yet.  But at this point, I can sprint up them without running out of breath.  I can hear you all woo-hooing right now.  Thank you, very much.  :)

With this new day, I am keenly aware that when I wrote my first Google review about my church experience - an experience that is still affecting my family today, I knew that this was a big, big battle.  I was aware that it was going on in other churches.  Somehow in a very strange happening, God chose to use my case to help spotlight this thing we identify as spiritual abuse.  It happened quickly and now we have this amazing place where people can tell their stories,  discuss how it happens, what it looks like, the results of spiritual, how to not get into a bad situation again, and so many other topics.  These topics are real and very relevant to so many.  

The picture of that staircase reminds me that we are climbing this battle.  I am going to keep climbing the staircase of this battle even though my court case is over (at least for the time being).  I am committed to this battle.  Stay tuned.  I will write more later when I get home.  Our camp counselor's meeting will start soon, so I want to get this posted and read a few comments before our last full day of camp begins.  

Big hugs to you all!   Please excuse typos.  I'm typing fast!


  1. Linda has been truly amazing... Her confidence and continual reassurance has been so calming during this crazy time!

  2. Civil rights attorneys are a special breed of people. You were very lucky to find this one and she has done excellent work for you, as I told you earlier after I read all the briefs and other papers. She deserves every nickel she will get from BGBC and O'Neal.

    She should also ask the judge to make them reimburse you for your expenses in traveling back and forth to meet with her and to be in court. That is only just and fair.

  3. What drew me into this the most, besides the dollar amount of the case, was the pastors abusive power to separate families, to separate your daughter from you. That was the most appalling to me, when both of you are believers in Christ Jesus. Overseers of a church body do not have the authority to abuse anyone. The word is disciple, not discipline. All pastors are to be disciples first, before becoming a teacher, or a preacher, and all followers of Christ are still to maintain that role of disciple, even if they are a teacher/preacher, etc. Jesus is King of kings. As such, we all have the same rank. No one is above another, except for Jesus. Pastors need to realize this before taking the role of a superintendent (bishop), and elders should also be aware to not be yes men to the Pastor, but to be an advocate to the congregation. This case has brought to light what was in darkness, that pastors do not have the authority to separate families, and to order the shunning of anyone. Jesus and the Apostles never taught to shun anyone, except Paul when he said:

    1 Corinthians 5:11
    But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

    Which one do you think that Pastor Chuck is? Did he not attempt to extort a half a million dollars by civil legal means?

    Notice the word "railer" in the reference? defines a railer as:

    1. to utter bitter complaint or vehement denunciation (often followed by at or against ): to rail at fate.

    2. to bring, force, etc., by railing.

    Pastor Chuck's lawsuit complaint was a bitter retaliation for people exposing the truth. Pastor Chuck has an ego problem, and a power and control problem. He needs to deal with it and get help, stepping down from the pulpit.

    If the word Grace in the title of the Church name has any significance...God gives grace to the humble. Pastor Chuck needs to get humble before the Lord. I hope he sees the error of his ways. I expect him to badmouth those evil human appointed judges now, though. If not him, then some of his congregation. But he might wait until he uses the evil judges in an appeal.

    In any case...Pastor Chuck is eating crow right now.

    Ed Chapman

    1. Ed, this court victory and the words of people like Julie who've been through it, this website, and your words are like healing balm to my soul and spirit. From my experience of having a husband who's dumped me to belong to a similar group for 8 years now, I sure witness to the absolute truth and correctness of what you said above. You've described exactly my husband's pastor with his extreme lack of humility, his thinking he is 'righteous, in his major part in tearing (what was a good marriage) down and 'asunder'; his apparent need to 'over-lord' not 'over-see' and thus not be a 'pastor of sheep' but an abusive, overbearing person, lacking in even showing respect to another Christian, much less 'love'. He like the others is intensely proud (arrogant and haughty) that he is one of the few left who goes by the Bible and makes sure people know that around here, but is lacking greatly in the fruit of the Spirit--so is a hindrance, not a minister of/to "the Gospel" (like a Pharisee) I pray for him daily for the Lord's sake and reputation first of all that he'd quit damaging it, and that he is truly saved secondly, and thirdly he'd repent of staying between me and my husband, which condition has alienated the rest of my family from me as well. (very complicated as a result); Thanks for sharing your insight.

    2. yes
      the words of love and grace and understanding here
      spoken in love, with grace and understanding
      gives such life and hope and vision
      heals, even as it helps to know we are not alone

      the stories we share, good and bad
      serve to calibrate our spiritual compasses
      gives us lenses and light to see by

      Malachi 3:16-18

      Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another,
      And the LORD listened and heard.
      So a book of remembrance was written before Him
      For those who feared the LORD
      And honored His name.

      “They will be Mine,” says the Lord of Hosts,
      “In the day when I make up my treasured possession,
      And I will spare them as a man spares his own son
      Who serves him.”

      Then once more you shall discern the difference,
      Distinguishing between the righteous and the wicked,
      Between one who serves God
      And one who does not serve Him.

    3. beautiful, thankyou. You guys have edified me, reminding me that God is love and is ALWAYS gracious and loving toward His children...we don't have to first 'measure up' before He is.

  4. Hannah, you are amazing too! I have so much joy in my heart ♥ today. I think it must be the JOY of the LORD and the fruit of the Holy Spirit. I wrote to you on the previous post, so hope you read that. And keep DANCING! David danced before the LORD and that was in the OT ♥♥♥

    ♥ U, Hannah. U R special.

    1. Thank you, NaR... I read your other post to me. :)

  5. The first thing that popped in my mind after reading this is that this was not a battle against flesh and blood. I truly think that this was a real spiritual battle. And, I do believe that the other side thought that they were being as spiritually battled as you were.

    That being said, they can't touch you (insert M.C. Hammer's "Can't Touch This" and do a little dance). Even if it goes to a higher court. No matter if a higher judge were to reverse a decision (which I highly doubt he/she would), they can't keep you from the loving grace of Jesus.

    If you ever find yourself in the Portland/Beaverton area again and have time to visit, please let me know. I'd love to sit and chat and knit with you!

    P.S. Yesterday I was driving and saw a car with a license plate that read Julie Anne. I looked to see if it was you but remembered that you were at camp.

    1. That's funny, Kathi. I wasn't too far from Beaverton - about 1-1/2 hrs away :)

      I'd love to knit and chat sometime. Maybe we can make that work sometime. I know we have a lot in common.

    2. Kathi,

      I think this is true: "this was not a battle against flesh and blood. I truly think that this was a real spiritual battle".

      "they can't keep you from the loving grace of Jesus." AMEN!

      Your previous comments and your blog have helped me through this time. You and others here have made a difference. Thanks.

  6. Julie Anne, Hannah and everyone else,congratulations! I always laugh when I hear someone say that prayer does not work. I'm glad this battle is won for you. I wish you and your family joy in your continuing walk with God.

  7. Serving in JapanJuly 27, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    Praise God! And many congratulations to Julie Anne and Hannah and everyone else involved in this case. It's wonderful news, and whatever lies ahead I just know that God will be with you.

    Enjoy the rest of your time at camp!

  8. Smith Family, Julie Anne, Hannah, Meaghan—I share your joy and happy tears.

    and Thank You, Linda Williams for all your faithful work in defending our First Amendment rights.

    Thank You all for engaging the Battle!

  9. Julie Anne, I have shared that I have used this situation with you and the other defendants to educate people on my online support group and our Facebook page. Yesterday I posted the wonderful news of the dismissal of the lawsuit and everyone was thrilled.

    Just now I posted some comments on the Facebook page, that I wanted to share with you and your readers:

    With what happened to Julie Anne Smith and the others that were sued by their former church and pastor in Oregon, I think it is good for everyone to become informed about what constitutes defamation and what does not. Even before this happened, I would periodically encounter people who were fearful to speak up or share much about their experience in an unhealthy church. I even encounter people who are afraid their former pastor is somehow a member of our online support group.

    I do not believe that former members of unhealthy churches should have to go around fearful of sharing what happened to them. Sometimes they are fearful because they yet have an unbiblical concept of "touch not my anointed." Sometimes they are fearful that their former church could do something to them, such as pray against them or send 'spirits' their way. Sometimes they are fearful because they feel God will magically make it all go away and have a wrong idea that God fighting their battles means they should not speak of it. Sometimes they are fearful of hurting family and loved ones yet in the unhealthy church.

    And sometimes it is because they worry about this issue of possibly being sued by their former church or pastor. I have even had current members email from time to time, who bring up the thought that I could be sued by my former church organization for things I write on the website. They don't scare me and I am not afraid of such threats.

    I don't believe there is a fine line between sharing what happened and defamation. Defamation and slander/libel are not things one does unknowingly or accidentally. I don't believe former members of unhealthy churches need to feel like they have to walk on egg shells when they share. As long as they are telling the truth, they should be free of this fear. Some may have felt she was crazy for doing so, but Julie Anne Smith continued to use the words "wolf," "creepy," "spiritual abuse," etc. in her blog after the lawsuit was filed against her. Why? Because those things are her opinions about her former church and pastor and by law she is free to express them.

    Look at it this way. Unhealthy pastors and current members are free to call people like myself backsliders, reprobates, rebellious, witches, evil (yep- I had a current member call me evil once and we later became friends), lost, and much more. Think about it. They are free to do this and yet we should be fearful of speaking up? Do we run around filing lawsuits against them for these things? Would we win if we did? If these people are free and protected by law to openly say such things about us, why should we feel hindered in saying that we believe the church to be unhealthy, etc?

    In the legal documents submitted by Julie Anne Smith's attorney, she sites case after case where people's statements were not considered defamation in a court of law. I think it would be good for people to take the time and read these legal documents. The first five are posted online here: at the bottom of the page. Download them and digest what has been shared and then better understand why the judge rightfully dismissed the lawsuit.

    Be empowered with knowledge of the law, so you cannot be bullied into silence!

  10. Hi Julie Ann,
    We have a number of mutual friends, and I understand what is going on, I understand your heart in creating a forum for people who have endured spiritual abuse, my heart grieves over this latest "running Christ through the mud" episode of this man suing you all. As I read through your blog, and follow some of your stories, I am sickened and deeply troubled. Especially over the article about Doug Philips. Mostly because we know people who love his ministry very much. I want to know how you are able to verify the stories that are written. There is an increasing uncomfortable ness that troubled people could possibly be writing in to slander their pastors, and this could appear to some as a gossip column. This should not be happening for the glory of God's sake. Spiritual abuse is indeed horrendous beyond words, this latest court shenanigan is so shameful, and I understand the path through healing from that is devastating years afterwords, I hope and pray that you are very careful about what you post.

    1. Wow. As I’m looking deeper into Doug Phillips this man appears to be more sick and dangerous than Charles O’Neal! I can only imagine the unbelievable horror stories coming out his camp!

      Thanks for directing my attention to

    2. Crystal: As I read through your blog... I am sickend and deeply troubled. Especially over the article about Doug Phil[l]ips. I want to know how you are able to verify the stories that are written... troubled people could possibly be writing in to slander their pastors, and this could appear to some as a gossip column. This should not be happening for the glory of God's sake... I hope and pray that you are very careful about what you post.

      As Julie Anne is occupied at camp with counseling, and while I wait for ja to field your concerns, allow me to suggest the answer to your question of verity.

      Answer: spiritual discernment

      Crystal, direct me to those who you know that may regard this blog ‘as a gossip column’ and I’ll point out to you those who may very well need a place like this to help them see and be delivered from troubling darkness and spiritual sickness. They would be free here to find the proper light, and be themselves in the process.

      Please consider Doug Phillips' spiritual abuse as something that 'should not be happening for the glory of God's sake.' And 'I hope and pray that you [too] are very careful about what you' believe.

    3. Crystal - What article on Doug Phillips are you referring to? My brain is a bit tired now and can't recall what you're talking about. I have been seeing and hearing about widespread destruction of homes/marriages regarding the patriarchal movement that is prevalent in Doug Phillips circles. Not sure if you are talking about that or what.

    4. Crystal,

      Your friends may love a ministry very much, but it is possible to love a ministry more than loving truth and to defend a man, while thinking that is the same as "defending the faith".

      "I want to know how you are able to verify the stories that are written." How are people able to verify stories are NOT TRUE? There are "troubled pastors" gossiping about sheep too, but that goes on behind the scenes in most churches and people are afraid to speak because of the "NO GOSSIP RULE".

      "This should not be happening for the glory of God's sake."
      Crystal, my opinion is staying silent does not bring God more glory. You might be surprised how many people outside the church - Christians and non-Christians (from people in medicine and law to people with common sense)know about abusive church leaders. They wonder why Christians tolerate a lack of free speech and cover up abuse to protect the reputations of men who have become "American Idol Pastor", who are so revered and considered almost "infallible".

      Julie Anne and others are regularly demeaned as "survivor bloggers" and "gossiped about" on blogs - the last such tripe was posted one day, six hours and 8 minutes before the decision in this court case was written about on Oregon Live.

      Julie Anne is more careful about what she posts that the blogs that gossip about her and support pastors over sheep.

      The Lord looks on the heart, not the outward appearance.
      And the Lord has revealed hearts in this case as well.

    5. Anonymous said: "Your friends may love a ministry very much, but it is possible to love a ministry more than loving truth and to defend a man, while thinking that is the same as "defending the faith"."

      Very well spoken---and very, very true!

  11. Came over to check for an update. I'm praising our Lord for his faithfulness to you in this situation. I pray that he will continue to protect and defend you and those you love.

    Enjoy the rest of your time at camp.



    1. Thank you so much, SJEnglehardt.

      God is so good.

  12. Crystal

    I think you need to ask another question. What makes you think that a pastor is anymore truthful than someone in his congregation? If a pastor calls a church member names,(unregenerate, bitter, liar, etc) why is that "biblical" but a church member who confronts what they believe to be truth is "gossiping?"

    In fact, I grow increasingly uncomfortable with people who give pastors passes and have watched churches descend into hyper authoritarian leadership. This is just as sinful and has the potential to deeply hurt the cause of Christ.

    God's glory is often shown when he uses prophets to challenge the status quo. In fact exposing sin and hypocrisy is for God's glory.I bet you know your Bible well enough that I do not have to list examples. How do you know that Julie Anne was not being used in the same way as Nathan?

    As for Doug Phillips, it is high time he be called out for some of his activities and teachings. In fact, your comment has spurred me on to do just that. I will plan to do a series on Phillips at The Wartburg Watch in the near future.

    1. Crystal, while I'm an orthodox Christian believer, and while I may agree with 99.2% of what a man may be teaching, IF he begins to assert as doctrine ideas that are clearly un-Scriptural he qualifies himself to be a False Teacher.

      Doug Phillips is new to me. As I’m scanning what I can find on him I recognize some of the language. Is this man a Christian Reconstructionist? Is he connected with SGM? With his promotion of (something that is also new to me) his Biblical Patriarchy I see a number of huge red flags! I’m a complementarian but this guy is crafting tenets that are extra-Scriptural, certifying him (in my book) to be a potentially dangerous man, someone who certainly needs 'called out' and examined.

      Dee, drop a heads up here on ja’blog when you have something for me to read on Phillips.

    2. Dee - I'm looking forward to that series. Perhaps I shouldn't be posting comments on such little sleep, but I'm frankly fed up with the kind of nonsense going around with the Patriarchal movement where women are defined by the amount of babies they pop out while "serving" the priest of the home.

    3. Julie Anne,

      A home school mother of at least seven (5 boys at home, 1 girl at camp, and 1 working adult)is more than qualified to comment on this "nonsense". Home school moms usually aren't liberal feminists or rebels.

      I'm looking forward to reading Dee's series also.

      Praying that you have a good rest.

      Happy Belated Anniversary to you and Steve!

  13. I am so glad for you!

  14. Dee, Excellently stated!!

    Life experience has taught us that there is a need to examine belief systems which pave the way for church leaders to damage and harm the flock.

    Supporting and excusing pastors while vilifying congregants grieves the heart of God. This practice has gone on far too long. Who will rise up and challenge this dysfuntion in the Body of Christ?

    BTW the word 'vilify' means:
    "1. to use abusive or slanderous language about or of." Webster

    1. Barb: There is a need to examine belief systems which pave the way for church leaders to damage and harm the flock.


      Barb: Who will rise up and challenge this dysfunction in the Body of Christ?

      we all must, everyone who has breathe, in whatever way the Spirit inspires

  15. This discussion is so helpful to me. We left our church after 10 years of a toxic situation with the pastor and our efforts to try to work it out were met with rebuke for having spoken up. When we left, I repeatedly was told, "Don't talk about it so you don't cause division." As I privately worked through layer after layer of hurt, I heeded that admonition. However, I finally realized, "WAIT! I'm not the one being divisive! I have worked to follow the scriptural steps in privately confronting sin, and pleading for reconciliation and restoration. I'm not the one being divisive!!!" Even so, I have learned that in our Christian culture, anger invalidates any issue being raised. If we demonstrate anger as we communicate what has happened, our words are disregarded because we have sinned in their delivery. So we who have been mistreated in the church are not allowed to be angry or criticize the pastor even if it's true--- if we do, we are then burdened with the accusation of being divisive in addition to having experienced mistreatment without recourse. The Body of Christ has been well-trained to resist discernment about their leadership because of these restrictions. In these situations, the church tends to shoots its wounded.
    Thank you, Julie Anne, for your blog where discussion can expose these difficulties in the church. It gives those like me who have felt so alone a place to read what others have experienced, to speak out, and receive insight to help us all understand what has happened. It offers the opportunity to join together to work for a better --- indeed, a more God-honoring---- church experience.

    1. Thank you, Susan. When you feel like you are the only one, it can be crazy-making. I'm so glad this blog has been helpful to you. How are you doing now? Have you gone back to church?

    2. No. I tried at first for a few months but was just too raw. I could worship ok, but was too damaged to interact with other people in a healthy manner. Too suspicious, too defensive. Finally, in a time alone with the Lord, He spoke to me and told me to take a break from church altogether. I have continued to have very precious fellowship with Him through this year since we left our church. I am still healing with occasional setbacks; my fellowship with the Lord has been consistently amazing, though. So I believe He will continue to help me through this. The service on the Wartburg Watch has been my place of church "attendance." So thankful. I can worship and sit under excellent teaching without the trauma of interacting with others for now.

    3. Susan - I'm glad to hear you have maintained your walk with the Lord and that you have been utilizing the online church at TWW. It would be so easy to put God and church behind you when legitimately hurt. The online church is a great way to keep growing for now. I think Wade would be so pleased to hear this. Thank you for letting me know, Susan! :)

    4. Susan,

      What you said about a certain dismissive attitude toward expressions of anger really hit home with me. You make some great points! Although the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God—nevertheless, there is a righteous anger! A holy energy that can fuel one’s engagement in the battle! Be Angry and sin not.

    5. YES! thanks for making that point, ,Susan and all of you above(about the anger and how they twist that too against you) Well spoken and much needed to be considered in this spiritual battle. It was one of the enemy's favorite tactics (and still is here with my husband in his thinking that if I get angry at what he and his preacher have done, then I am the automatic big sinner and they are 'the righteous ones'.)

  16. Hoorah!! Hoorah!! Hoorah!!! I am so delighted for you!!

  17. We praise God for His awesome love and faithfulness through the long ordeal which began the day some strange man drove four hours from Portland to hand deliver Chuck O'Neal's (CON) $500,000 lawsuit against my wife! Thank you all in blog land for deeply loving our family and keeping us on track spiritually. Thanks for your prayers for our family and marriage in the midst of defending against wolf CON's attack on the sheep. Julie Anne's support group here is truly amazing and eye-opening.
    Now we are (all?) energized to humbly spread the word about this 'defamation' case so that the church of the one True Living God will be made more pure and holy. May Jesus Christ come back quickly for His spotless bride which He purchased with His own blood! May what we write be all for Christ's glory in his holy church and not for our own needs.
    I am so blessed that a number of experienced writers, pastors and attorneys etc. have graciously come to Julie Anne's support dedicating precious hours and hours of work. What a blessing and special role you have played in many behind the scenes efforts and struggles to take the sheepskin off the wolf off. Thank you!
    Now that this first stage is behind us, what edifying task can we engage to help godly pastors feed and protect the sheep? How can we teach the sheep so that false teachers are exposed and outed?
    Thankfully yours,
    Steve & DH

    1. Hey Steve, good to see you here.

      Has O'Neil released a response to the judge's ruling yet? Would love to be a fly on the wall at the church tomorrow.

    2. Amen Steve! Amen!

      good hearing from you. .

      Steve: What edifying task can we engage to help godly pastors feed and protect the sheep? How can we teach the sheep so that false teachers are exposed and outed?

      I'm presently on my Sabbath, but I do have some thoughts toward formulating an answer to your questions. Maybe JA can do a post on these concerns. .

    3. The husband has spoken. Whoa. Happy belated anniversary, Steve. We'll have to make up for lost time. See you tomorrow night!

      David Cho: I'm not aware of any response, yet just now am getting on the computer after leaving camp and will search around.

      monax: That is what his blog is about. I'm always happy to do posts on exposing false teachers and find ways of protecting sheep.

    4. Happy Anniversary Steve and Julie Anne!

  18. I am not a Christian, but I am a Jew, and I believe in the first amendment. I am truly horrified by the treatment you received by your pastor while attending the church and after you left. You have done a truly good thing by standing up to his bullying tactics and helping others who have been put through the same abuse that you have. There is no excuse for ostracism, not just from a Christian perspective but from the perspective of basic human decency, and I wish you luck on your spiritual journey going forward. You have been a great role model and an inspiration for others as a Christian and as a citizen for standing up for your rights. Thank you.

  19. viva first amendment!

  20. Caught a few minutes of CBS’ Face the Nation this morning, just now. The discussion was centered upon the Penn State football program scandal.

    I really respected what Bill Rhoden, sports columnist for The New York Times, said concerning the effects of sexual abuse: '...for victims of abuse—it’s forever!'

    I really haven’t followed the scandal, this was probably the first time I gave myself to reviewing it. My buddy is a huge Jo Pa fan! I’m not. I used to be a Penn State fan, I even studied there for a time. But back in the 90's my Grandpa Susek was vocal enough in his opposition of Paterno (for not stepping down and letting a younger coach take the reigns of the program), It was for my Grandpa not liking the man that I adopted the same attitude.

    Maybe I’ll be a Penn State fan again once the program has been thoroughly revamped—beginning with all the secrecy! The most inhumane things are done in the cover of darkness.

  21. Hi Julie Anne,

    Congrats on your win. I noticed your donate button is still up. I suppose that your win means that the other party bears the burden of all the expenses. What do you intend to do with all of those donations for your "legal expenses?" Are you going to refund them? Paypal makes it real easy, you just send the money back the same way it came in.

    1. Good question. That is something that I need to figure out. Most of the $$ was used to pay for ongoing attorney bills. Once the attorneys are paid from the pastor/church, then the Paypal acct will be reimbursed again. Perhaps I will contact each donor and ask what they would like me to do.

    2. Undoubtedly there were other expenses incurred for the families standing at the frontlines of this battle than just legal fees. Many gave no money, but they cheerfully gave support out of other personal resources—time and energy, pastoral and legal expertise, private behind the scenes efforts, etc.— and honestly, I can’t see how any those who gave their support would ask for anything back. But I could be wrong.

    3. My guess is that the poster who asked this question may be associated with the church, but regardless, here are some things to consider.

      Being awarded money and receiving the money can be very different. Two people were awarded $16,750 for costs and attorney fees. My guess is that they haven't received a penny. My guess is that the church may try and fight the awards but be unsuccessful. Such would incur additional expense and delay payments to the defendants for an unknown amount of time.

      Nothing yet has been awarded the other parties that were sued. What they will receive has yet to be determined by the judge.

      That brings us back to the question of when will they receive the money?

      Does the church have at its disposal even the $16,750 it owes to only two of the people?

      If not, how will they pay? How long will it take for them to receive the money? Days? Weeks? Months? Years? Will the money be received only by placing a lien upon the church building?

      Would something like this be covered by any insurance the church might carry? If so, would the insurance company not pay due to the reason for the dismissal of the lawsuit? (I ask that as, for example, if punitive damages are awarded in a case, insurance companies usually do not pay those because the act is considered deliberate.)

      If the ruling is appealed or if they can appeal the awards, it could be months or years before the defendants are paid.

      The way PayPal works, it gives you 60 days to make a refund by doing the easy clicking on of the refund button. However, for each transaction that was made, it would cost the defendants the 30 cent fee that PayPal charges when a payment is made to you. (When you refund the money, PayPal gets to keep that 30 cents for each transaction. So if they had 100 transactions to refund, they would be out $30.00.)

      Another thing to consider is that while they will all be awarded money, what is awarded may not be 100% of the costs and attorney fees.

      So, you see, there is no pat simple answer to the question.

      I doubt that thousands of dollars have been received through the PayPal link, though I could be wrong. Perhaps they are willing to share the figures. One thing I believe I can say with certainty is that no defendant has profited financially from the lawsuit. Rather, I believe they will still be out money when all is said and done. And if you wish to consider all the stress involved and time lost with having a frivolous lawsuit filed against them, no amount of money can compensate them for that.

    4. Since the pastor and church were the plaintiffs, it is extremely unlikely that an insurance company will pay on their behalf. The pastor and church may have had a contingency fee contract, which means that their lawyer would only be paid if they won, which they did not.

      Julie Anne and the other defendants had costs in addition to the attorney fees and costs incurred by the attorney. She had to make a number of trips (IRS allows $0.50 per mile for fuel, wear and tear, etc.), meals away from home, and perhaps lodging, plus LD telephone calls. Whether the judge will order the reimbursement of these costs is yet to be determined.

    5. Thanks, an attorney, I was hoping you would share in response to my comments!

      Would a lien also be applicable on the pastor's home as well as the church, if the money is not paid? (Since he is also a separate plaintiff from the church.)

    6. The other issue is that the reason people made contributions was to off set legal costs. I think that you might want to disclose to the judge before the other party does and he passes judgement. It occurs to me that your reasonable attorney's fees would include the off-set. That would be wierd but... the doctrine of "squeaky clean."

    7. Hmm, what about my weekly deep tissue massages? Can you say tension? There certainly was a physical/emotional cost. Although I felt very much at peace during the day and really didn't worry too much, my brain wreaked havoc on me while I was sleeping. Saturday night was the first night I had 6 straight hours of sleep without waking up. Most nights I had 4-5 hours of sleep and that was interrupted sleep. Thank God for power naps. Yea, this was a long haul and those who know me really well know it had to be God that sustained me because I should have broken down. Yes, your prayers were very important to me.

    8. LOL - You certainly suffered. Not sure who you are acknowledging though. Good luck with the money issue. Let s\us know what the answer is.

    9. There won't be an answer until I know both attorneys are paid in full.

    10. Is the fact that some people willingly gave their own money to Julie Anne even relevant? I hope an attorney will weigh in, but I don't think where or how she obtained any money to pay earlier fees has a thing to do with the plaintiffs' requirement to pay up now.

      It is sad that that debt will fall on members of that church, but that church is not the victim. Those fees would not have been awarded if the church hadn't pursued a court case. Well, perhaps the church is the victim--of its pastor.

    11. [Note: I got JA's approval to share my personal and limited perspective below]

      Prior to the trial as I was keeping in touch with JA behind the scenes, I was, on the one hand, impressed at how strong she was in spirit, however, I was also aware that JA was suffering from some significant (emotional and) physical stress. Only those in her world would know how profoundly she was affected. For one: I remember being sincerely concerned over JA not getting enough sleep. It was at this point of realization that I began praying more for Julie Anne than for CON and BGBC.

      The effects of the spiritual abuse at the hands of the elders at BGBC was ENORMOUS! The money issue is nothing compared to what these men will have to answer for when they stand before the Most High God!

  22. I think that is a reasonable expectation. Perhaps a lien on his bank account and that of the church as well, though those are harder.


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