Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jenkins Lawsuit Infuriating the Christian Right

For those who have not followed the Lisa Miller/Janet Jenkins saga, here is a recap:
  • In 2002, a child, Isabella, was born to Miller and Jenkins who were then in a legal civil union in Vermont.
  • The following year, Lisa Miller moved to Virginia with Isabella, then 17 months old. The family, appellate and supreme courts of both Virginia and Vermont ruled that the Vermont family court has jurisdiction in this matter. The court ruled that it was in the best interests of the child to have a relationship with both parents.
  • At the time that Miller petitioned the court (through Liberty Counsel) in 2004 for dissolution of the union, Miller claimed to be a born-again Christian. She asserted that homosexuality is a sin and sought to "protect" her daughter. Miller joined a church and formed a friendship with Pastor Douglas Wright. Miller began to deny court-ordered visitation. Miller was found in contempt of court.
  • Except for a six month period of time in 2007, Miller continued to defy court orders and is repeatedly held in contempt by both Virginia and Vermont courts. During the six months of compliance it even looked like Miller and Jenkins were repairing their relationship.
  • A few months later, the church moved Lisa from Winchester, VA to Lynchburg where she was provided with housing, a job and a car. Isabella was enrolled at Liberty Academy
  • At about the same time (spring of 2008), the Protect Isabella Coalition was formed by the Church, Liberty U, Liberty Counsel and others. The purpose was to protect Miller while she defied visitation orders. Jerry Falwell Jr. was a significant financial contributor to the enterprise.
  • Eventually, as a result of her continued refusal to follow court orders, Jenkins was awarded full custody of Isabella effective January 1, 2010. During this time, Jenkins did not attend the hearings. Her lawyers from Liberty Counsel were busy holding press conferences. Miller was busy giving interviews to the usual suspects including Lifesitenews.com.
  • In September, 2009, Lisa Miller, disguised as an Amish-Mennonite and with their help, was covertly smuggled into Canada and then Nicaragua.
  • In November, 2009 it became known that Miller had kidnapped Isabella and that they were living in Nicaragua.
  • On August 13, 2012, Amish-Mennonite pastor Kenneth Miller (no relation to Lisa Miller) was found guilty of abetting international parental kidnapping. The record indicates that Miller knew that he was breaking the law and that he attempted to conceal his activities. Miller was also represented by Liberty Counsel.
  • Others had worked with Mr. Miller including a businessman in Virginia, Philip Zodhiates. Telephone records suggest that Mr. Zodhiates was in touch with Ms. Miller for months and drove her and her daughter to the Canadian border for their escape. Mr. Zodhiates has not been indicted. Telephone records also indicated that as he drove home from the border, Zodhiates tried to call a cellphone number registered to Liberty Counsel.
Based on depositions and evidence presented at trial, on August 14, Janet Jenkins sued everyone involved in federal district court in Vermont. Defendants include numerous Christian organizations and groups, a Baptist church associated with Liberty U, a number of  individuals and Liberty University School of Law.

While this is a civil action, Plaintiffs allege that defendants conspired     in defiance of RICO statutes     to deprive Jenkins of her parental rights. They are also accused of money laundering, mail fraud and kidnapping.

A mountain of evidence exists to support the allegations including numerous statements made by defendants, depositions, phone records, bank records, FBI reports and testimony in the criminal trial. In spite of this, along come LifesiteNews.com:

"Homosexual’s ‘defamatory’ lawsuit seeks to silence pro-family groups: Liberty University attorney"
A lawsuit filed by a homosexual against Liberty University School of Law and various other organizations and individuals for “conspiracy” and “racketeering” is based on lies and is defamatory, according to law school dean Mathew Staver, who says that he will “pursue every recourse” against the plaintiffs for having filed it.
 Well good luck with that.  Staver and Liberty Counsel have lost every single round in this mess. The notion that the complaint is defamatory is ludicrous. Absurd!
“This is outrageously frivolous,” Staver told LifeSiteNews.com. “It’s a press release filed in federal court. It is sanctionable, and we will pursue every recourse possible because this suit is defamatory. It’s filled with lies, it’s frivolous, and the attorney who filed it ought to be sanctioned…”
To suggest that a suit for parental kidnapping is "frivolous" is not only preposterous but offensive. Lies? Please. The detail and history speak for themselves. Let's see how Staver & Co. fare in a Vermont federal court. The person most likely to be sanctioned in this matter is Staver. It looks to me like Staver participated in a criminal conspiracy. His law license is very much in jeopardy.

Lost among the ruins of this debacle is the fate of Isabella!

The child has been forced to live in a foreign country that is less developed than her own. She is being raised by a religious "ex-gay" whack job. Her education is likely to be substandard.
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