“I don’t know how to deal with him to tell you the truth, let the little dogs bark.” – Chuck Smith Calvary Chapel
Smith was referring to blogger Alex Grenier, who blogs at Calvary Chapel Abuse. For years, Alex has been blogging about alleged abuse he and his brothers suffered at the hands of his step-father Bob Grenier, who is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Visalia in California. Alex has also blogged about corruption and spiritual abuse in Calvary Chapel.
In October 2012, Bob Grenier and his wife Gail filed suit against their son Alex and his friend Tim Taylor, alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and conspiracy to defame. Bob Grenier, who is also a police chaplain with the Visalia Police ‘took’ a leave of absence from his chaplaincy position February 19, 2012, as news of his lawsuit against his son spread through media.
Summary of Defamation lawsuit documents and events
Alex Grenier and Tim Taylor are being represented by the California Anti-SLAPP Project.
Today California Superior Court Judge Paul Anthony Vortmann laid out the law in a ruling, and it’s blogger 1, pastor 0.
The court finds that Defendants’ Web activities are protected under CCP 425.16(e)(3) and finds that Plaintiff Bob Grenier is a Limited Purpose Public Figure. The hearing on this motion is continued to April 9, 2013 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 7 on the issue of malice pursuant to the stipulation of the parties submitted on January 15, 2013.
The objections to evidence submitted by the parties will be determined prior to the continued hearing.
In this action it is not that Plaintiff was part of the debate on the limited issue of abuse by the clergy, but that he does assert that he is a leader of his church. Allegations of conduct which would violate the trust his church members and members of the public place in him as a church leader are matters of public discussion or controversy.
The lawyers will be in court to argue their positions on the ruling tomorrow. As this case continues to unfold, I hope and pray the judge lays down the law, sending a clear message to pastors who chose to go after the ‘little dogs’. This is the second case in 7 months were a US pastor went after a blogger in court. That pastor also lost and was ordered to pay costs.