Ousted member sues church for libel, slander

Discussion in '2006 Archive' started by Ben W, Apr 21, 2006.

  1. Ben W

    Ben W
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    ----------------------------------------------------

    By Frank E. Lockwood
    HERALD-LEADER STAFF WRITER
    Frank Lockwood/Staff
    The pastor at Harvest Community Assembly of God in Corbin called the plaintiff’s actions a ‘continual disturbance.’

    CORBIN - Tom LeQuire, a former member of the praise and worship team at Harvest Community Assembly of God in Corbin, is suing his old congregation for libel and slander.

    The Pentecostal church, LeQuire says, falsely accused him of being "involved in activities of a homosexual nature," prohibited him from playing music and asked him to stop attending.

    Because of the "false and malicious statements," LeQuire says, he has been "disgraced and degraded and held up to public hatred, contempt and ridicule causing him to be shunned and avoided by society."

    A trial is set for September in Knox Circuit Court. LeQuire, who describes himself as a happily married heterosexual, is seeking damages "in excess of $4,000."

    Church officials say the suit is without merit but declined to discuss details.

    "It's a mess," said the Rev. J. Randall Mays, Harvest Community's pastor from 1994 to 2002.

    LeQuire, a singer and keyboard player, was barred from performing at Harvest Community after he was accused in June 2000 of asking "a Christian brother," the church said, to pose for pictures in his underwear. The pictures were supposedly for a "modeling business," church officials said. LeQuire also allegedly showed the "Christian brother," the church said, pictures of nude men.

    After hearing the allegations, Mays summoned LeQuire to his office. Mays said in court documents that LeQuire denied showing anyone nude photos but admitted asking the fellow churchgoer to pose in his underwear for a modeling business. LeQuire says he discussed modeling with a fellow churchgoer but denies asking him to partially disrobe.

    After the meeting, Mays decided it would no longer be appropriate for LeQuire to be a music leader -- a decision that infuriated the musician.

    Instead of quitting, he sat in the pews and sang loudly -- so loudly that the pastor branded it "a continual disturbance."

    LeQuire also sent more than 20 angry letters and phone messages to church officials and the accuser's family, calling them names, critiquing their musical talents and demanding that he be reinstated.

    "God is getting ready to move cause he don't like me not being used," he said in one message.

    "You've treated me like my feelings aren't important, and I know this stinks in God's nostrils," he said in another.

    "I will be singing soon, and you'll know you can't stop it, even though you'll try to stop it. If you try to stop it, you'll be SHAKEN," he wrote in a third.

    After roughly 18 months of LeQuire's angry notes, Mays called a special business meeting and asked the congregation to kick LeQuire out. On Dec. 28, 2001, Mays outlined allegations that LeQuire was disrupting services, harassing people and refusing to meet with church officials. He also told the congregation about the pictures and underwear modeling.

    Church members, nearly unanimous, asked LeQuire to leave. The Assemblies of God denomination allows congregations autonomy in making such decisions.

    In an interview, LeQuire said he was harmed by false allegations.

    "It was very hurtful, very emotional, especially when they didn't have any proof or evidence," he said. "Where is the love and the forgiveness? There was just judgment and condemnation."

    Spurned by the Assemblies of God, LeQuire filed a lawsuit and became a United Methodist.

    http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/14383787.htm
     
  2. donnA

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    hummm, I'll have to think about that one, thats strange.
     
  3. NateT

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    Talk about botched church discipline. From this article it doesn't sound like anyone was especially interested in restoring the brother. If they had tried restoring him, and he continued to act this way, I'd have voted to remove him from the role.

    I cannot endorse his lawsuit. I fail to see where $4k worth of damages had been caused. It sounds too much like revenge to me.
     
  4. Kilad

    Kilad
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    Wow this one leaves me speechless.
     
  5. SpiritualMadMan

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    How can you restore an angry bull?

    While, if false, the allegations are extremely painful, his response is less that that of a full time Spirit-Filled Minister...

    At forst glance this sounds like "Delusions of Granduer" and "I can do no wrong" mentality...

    I feel that his motivation is revenge, at this time...

    Heaven help anyone who accepts his 'ministry' while he is in this frame of spirit...

    But, *If* the allegations are true, at the least it shows very poor judgement to ask a fellow church member to pose, even for a Modelling Business...

    This, he admitted to, in itself doesn't sound quite right, to me...

    I am not sure if I would call the church discipline botched...

    The fact that a lack of judgement was admitted to was enough to ask him to sit out an indeterminate length of time...

    (I am all too familiar with A/G Discipline and they don't always hold an olive branch and tell you that this is temporary and you could be re-instated.)

    His response only validated the fears that *all* the allegations were correct...

    Had he sat there and let God handle it, assuming he was innocent, God could have had a chance to reveal the secret things of the heart and restore him to ministry...

    What *if* the person making the accusations is actually the gay person and this is all 'lashing out' because the invitation to pose didn't end how *they* wanted it to?

    How sad that far too often our own anger and sense of self-worth frustrates the Grace of God in our lives...

    Not that I have any experience in that regard! [​IMG]

    (I also have some property in Flordia and a Bridge in Brookland up for sale. :D )

    Mike Sr.
     
  6. NateT

    NateT
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    Maybe you can't. And if he remains unrepentant then voting him out is the only course of action. However, the article doesn't say that they even tried to handle this situation biblically.
     
  7. SpiritualMadMan

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    Nate,

    What would you have done differently?

    We do not know if the one making the allegations made any attempt to correct the issue one on one...

    If they were staff in any way...

    Or, if they were just jealous and wanted the "Leader Spot".

    I am not at all sure that the situation could have been handled differently except for revealing the initial allegations to the congregation...

    In my view that was 'dumb'. And, as it is a "he said he said" situation that leaves the church wide open for this lawsuit...

    Everyone could see the 'current' behavior...

    He was refusing to meet with church leaders...

    He was making a royal pain of himself...

    The pastor should have merely stated that the person was upset about church discipline and had rejected said discipline...

    There was no reason to tell the congregation why he was disciplined...

    Rejection of Discipline is adequate for a 'Minister' to be removed in the A/G...

    Again, what would you have done differently...

    Mike Sr.
     
  8. J.R.Maddox

    J.R.Maddox
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    Holy Whitie Tighties BATMAN!!!!!

    yep...dats a wierd one!!!!


    J
     

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