The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
For immediate release: Friday, Sept. 10, 2010
For more information: David Clohessy (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Abuse victims blast South County pastor
He continues his efforts to discover & sue website owner
A South County minister who was sued for molesting a girl is persisting in his lawsuit against an anonymous St. Louis individual who is posting information about the case on an internet website.
In the unusual case, Rev. James D. Manning, who heads Solid Rock Ministries in Fenton claims that the website - http://protectkidsfromclergypredators.com/index.htm - causes Manning “severe emotion al distress” and “bodily harm.” Interestingly, the suit does not contend that any material on the website is false.
In a hearing this morning at the courthouse in Clayton, Manning dropped his motion asking a judge to force the anonymous person to disclose his identity because his lawyers believe they can find out through other means. But Manning is continuing to pursue his lawsuit.
“This case is essentially about free speech, which guarantees that I can subscribe to any religion, give out Bibles door-to-door, post a political yard sign, and put true information on the internet, even if it embarrasses a child predator,” said Barbara Dorris of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org),
As best SNAP can tell, there was a Post Dispatch story about the filing of the suit (in 2003), but was no media attention whatsoever about the settlement of it, for $500,000, in 2007.
(Yesterday, the Post ran a front page story about the controversy.)
After the child sex case was resolved, a person created a website and began putting documents, depositions and commentary about that child sex case on-line. http://protectkidsfromclergypredators.com/index.htm
Now, Manning has filed a civil suit against the unnamed individual, seeking more than $25,000 in damages. It calls the website “atrocious and intolerable.”
Two weeks ago, attorneys for the man being sued filed a response in court to Manning’s claim.
SNAP believes the purpose of the suit is to intimidate any more victims, witnesses or whistleblowers from coming forward and taking action. If Manning succeeds in this litigation, SNAP is convinced it will have a chilling effect on others who suffer or expose child sex crimes and cover ups.
SNAP maintains it’s virtually always immoral for a clergyman to sue an accuser over child sex abuse, and that such lawsuits intimidate other child sex abuse victims (those who are adults now and those who are teens now) from reporting crimes, exposing predators, and protecting kids.
Manning was once active in the Hazelwood-based United Pentecostal Church International (National Headquarters, World Evangelism Center (314-837-7300, http://www.upci.org/contactUs.asp)
Manning’s church’s website vaguely acknowledges some unspecified controversy: “In 2002, our congregation would weather a storm that would create a smaller yet stronger and more unified church family.”
Manning has also headed churches in Oregon and south St. Louis city.
Manning is represented by Clayton lawyers Mark Goodman and Drey Cooley (314 721 7701, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org). The anonymous individual who is posting information about Manning on the web is represented by St. Paul MN attorney Patrick Noaker (651 227 9990, 612 961 1307 cell, email@example.com). In the 2003 lawsuit, Manning’s victim was represented by Art Margulis and Manning’s victim’s parents were represented Clayton attorney Ken Chackes (314 872 8420, 314 369 3902 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com).
Solid Rock is at 899 Gravois Road near Highway 141 (636.343.3800, www.srmonline.org)
In 2002, a local Catholic priest, Fr. Alex Anderson, sued one of his accusers for slander. Despite criticism from victims and Catholics, then-bishops Timothy Dolan and Justin Rigali let the suit proceed. SNAP believes that lawsuit is likely one of the reasons Manning is filing similar litigation now.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests