Huge legal victory for Free Speech and Church Abuse bloggers
I’ve been following Julie Anne Smith’s story for awhile. She was sued by her former Pastor, Chuck O’Neal of Beaverton Grace Bible Church, for defamation after she began addressing her negative experiences with the church and leadership in online reviews and even a blog dedicated to the issues.
I first became aware of Smith’s story over at: http://www.TheWartburgWatch.com
In a nutshell, O’Neal and BGBC sued Smith and some others for $500,000 for “defamation”. Smith believed, rightly, that she had not only the legal right but also the obligation to report on abuses she experienced, witnessed and was reported to with regards to O’Neal’s church and methodology and practice, etc.
The Oregon Judge agreed with Smith and dismissed the suit and awarded her attorney’s fees to be paid for by the Plaintiff.
See the news article here:
See Smith’s blog BGBC Survivors and the article where she announces her court victory with the details of the ruling and award of attorney’s fees here:
Word on the street is Bob Grenier and Calvary Chapel may be planning some sort of defamation lawsuit.
Two words: Bring it.
I would love the opportunity to defend my Free Speech rights, bring much needed attention to the serious issues that need to be dealt with in Calvary Chapel, but also to prove what I believe to be true in a Court that isn’t biased against those bringing the accusations.