Breaking: Major Win For Alex Grenier/Tim Taylor vs Calvary Chapel’s Bob Grenier

Time for rejoicing!  The judge has rendered a tentative verdict. Bob Grenier, Mini-Moses Pastor of Calvary Chapel- Visalia is a limited public figure and Alex Grenier's and Tim Taylor's opinions are matters for public discussion link. Two weeks ago, I told them to keep track of expenses. Hey guys, factor in treating old Dee to lunch if I am ever out that way!

  • Bloggers 3 (Tom Rich, Julie Anne Smith, Alex Grenier/Tim Taylor)
  • Pastors 0  (Mac Brunson, Chuck O'Neal, Bob Grenier)
  • ​Dee's predictions of wins-3/3  100%!!!

 

Comments

Breaking: Major Win For Alex Grenier/Tim Taylor vs Calvary Chapel’s Bob Grenier — 49 Comments

  1. Congratulations Tom, Julie Anne, and Alex/Tim. Not only have you had a major victory you’ve established that other mega-pastors, thinking of going after bloggers, will likely be considered public figures.

    That’s good because they are people of note in a internet-saturated world even if they’re not Tom Cruise or Nicole Kidman. And my understanding is that the bar for proving that slander/libel occurred is much higher for well-known figures/celebrities than it is for ordinary folks. You have to prove malicious intent for the former but not the latter.

    Congratulations to you, too, Dee and Deb, for your role in this victory.

  2. Now we have two defamation cases setting the clear precedent that pastors are figures of public interest and our speech about them is protected. This should send a loud message to bully pastors that if they try to sue bloggers, they will lose. We have a right to say negative things about bully pastors (if they are not defamatory or said with malice). Pastors, beware!

    Congrats to Alex, Tim, and Paul and the rest of the victims of CCV.

  3. @ dee:

    That and sending a lot of traffic toward a cause you believed in. Have you and the Guy Behind the Curtain ever seen how many high-quality Google back-links you have?

    Many companies pay 6 or even 7 figures to get the kind of Search Engine Placement you’ve created through your blog.

  4. Marshall

    Google backlinks? That sounds suspciously like golf. I tried golfing but i have a wretched swing so I am limited to Putt Putt.

    Seriously, that is kind of you. This is a labor of love. I get up every morning to see what’s up and if there is anything we can do to help. I’ve thought about this stuff for years and wondered if anyone else was interested besides the two of us, our husbands and the pug dogs. I was so glad to see that others are.

    A long time ago, Deb was present when we both served on the Community Panel for our local newspaper. One of their columnists poorly treated a Christian man from Egypt who had been tortured. I lost it during our panel meeting, threw my research on the man’s background at them, asked them how they could sleep at night and walked out of the room in a huff. I hate it when people use other people. They have never quite forgotten that meeting. So, now I get to have tantrums in a controlled environment.

    Also, think of it this way. My kids often blew off what I was saying when they were growing up. Now, there are people who actualy listen to me! Finally!!!@ Marshall:

  5. Good stuff. I do suppose, however, someone ought to query the judge about “Cavalry Chapel Visalia” .. or perhaps that’s one of the “Cowboy Churches” I’ve heard about lately.

    🙂

  6. “One of their columnists poorly treated a Christian man from Egypt who had been tortured. I lost it during our panel meeting, threw my research on the man’s background at them, asked them how they could sleep at night and walked out of the room in a huff. I hate it when people use other people.”

    I can sooo relate.. I just cannot stand to see such injustice. It makes me boil. And when it is “Christian” leaders, I am totally appalled. I cannot understand the excuses people give for looking the other way. SOMEBODY has to care about the victims these religous leaders produce. Somebody has to speak up.

    I urge everyone to do a refresher on the Gospels. Listen in your mind to Jesus speak to the people then hear him speak to the religious leaders. The situations will sound eerily familiar.

  7. +*++*+***+*++*+++***+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
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    *\:-)/* *\:-)/* *\:-)/* *\:-)/* *\:-)/*
    !!!!!!CHEERS AND CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!

  8. Thanks TWW Community! Thanks Dee and Deb! Love you guys!!!

    It’s looking really good at this point. Looks like the big hurdles are cleared, a couple to go, but this Tentative Ruling today looks really solid.

  9. Thanks to everyone at Wartburg for all your help! It’s great to see the blogs coming together. How much more can be done as a unified voice against abuse!

  10. This is such wonderful news! But help me to understand – why is it a “tentative” ruling? Why not final?

  11. Tim/Alex
    When I called Tim that morning a couple of weeks ago, I had a feeling that things were changing in your favor although I never once believed that the lawsuit would stand. You are telling the truth as you know it to be true. Any ruling that said otherwise would be highly suspect. Judges are aware of both the law and the increasingly concerned public sentiment about such things.

    The world is changing due to the RCC and Sandusky scandals. Victims who were ignored before are now being believed. No longer do pastors, priests or football coaches get a pass in the public unless said pastors are members of certain Neo-Calvinist groups.

  12. The judge gives initial first impressions prior to the final ruling . It is kind of like the doctors who cared for my daughter when she had her brain tumor. When they said to us that we could start thinking that she might be cured, we knew that they believed it to be true. Cancer doctors never use the “cure” word unless they are pretty darn sure. She was a cure and Alex and Tim are going to be fine.@ Leila:

  13. Bob
    I do that all the time on this blog. I have a mental block. I have to carefully sound it out when I write it. In a hurry-I screw up! Cowboy churches-like that! Now to change it. @ Bob Cleveland:

  14. Alex and Tim –

    Wonderful news! It is a good sign to see the ones who “formerly” had a corner on public presence having to walk away with their tail between their legs. The fact that they can no longer control information will bring freedom to many. The barks are proving to be biteless. It will be interesting to see the responses by Bob and the local church in Visalia.

  15. @ dee: Sorry about the tech-geek speak, Dee. Backlinks just refers to links to Wartburg Watch from other sites. You have lots of sites that Google considers high quality online entities linking back to TWW.

    Google relies heavily on the quality of the sites linking back to your site when giving it good search engine placement for popular terms. They figure that if other serious sites like your site the general public will like it too. For example, TWW comes up on the first page for popular phrases like “Sovereign Grace Scandal” or “Sovereign Grace Cult).” That’s quite an accomplishment as TWW is competing for those spots with big brand names like the Huffington Post, Christianity Today, and the Washington Post. AND TWW DOES NOT focus exclusively on SGM as the Survivors, Refuge, and Brent Detwiler blogs do.

    Many companies have expensive search engine optimization strategies in place to try and get a fraction of the exposure that TWW has gotten with sweat equity alone.

    So yes, I would say that lots of people are listening to you and Deb. I still think you’re to be congratulated as most labors of love don’t last long enough to bear fruit. 🙂

  16. @ Leila:
    I agree with Dee in that this judge seems disinclined to let this suit proceed as is. He is giving the plaintiffs a chance to present a rebuttal, as the tentative ruling suggests, but he already seems ready to rule that the plaintiffs are limited public figures, the subjects in question concerned public interest, and there’s no evidence of malicious intent pertaining to statements made about these public figures.

    Therefore I think that the plaintiffs have to show evidence of malicious intent if they don’t want the judge to dismiss the case.

    My understanding is that proving malicious intent is almost impossible when it comes to the slander/libel of public figures generally, which is why celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Bratt Pitt seldom prevail in lawsuits even if someone alleges they had an extra-marital affair on Mars.

    In this case, the defendants were talking about child abuse and financial improprieties, and their intent does not appear to be malicious according to judge’s initial ruling.

    I’m not a lawyer so please don’t assume I’m right about the details. However, I’ve hired plenty of lawyers and do think that a competent attorney, with the plaintiffs best interest in mind, would probably tell them to quit spending money on a case with this many hurdles no matter how emotionally involved they are in it.

  17. @ Eagle:

    Pardon the error. I should have referred to the local church in Visalia as “Bob’s local fiefdom.” 🙂

  18. @ Marshall: We get in our SPAM filter about 3 to 5 people a week offering to increase our backlinks by 1000s.

    They get lost in the clutter of comments selling drugs. And a new really strange kind of SPAM. Comments that make a generic statement that could apply to almost any site or post but the web link is to a Wkipedia article. I guess folks are now trying to boost the popularity of articles they have written. Maybe it influences their Klout ratings.

    As we start getting deep into the weeds here

  19. @ GuyBehindtheCurtain:

    Search engine optimization is one of my favorite topics so we could get into deep weeds. You already have thousands of legitimate quality backlinks from established popular sites. I almost fell off my chair when I put the TWW URL into this backlink checker I’ve found reliable:

    http://www.backlinkwatch.com

    It thinks you have more than 50,000 backlinks which is scary when you consider that Google only shows about 10% of people’s actual backlinks for some hidden corporate reason.

    The spam e-mails you’re getting are from scammers that create sites called link farms – pages of links created to make your site look more popular. They usually fool Google long enough to charge you $5000 for appearing on the first page of a certain search engine term before Google completely bans your site because Google doesn’t like it when people try to outright buy search engine placement.

    Google will reward sites with good content but most people are too lazy and/or impatient to legitimately optimize their site and create stuff folks actually want to read. They’d rather sink money into schemes.

    If you want to do an in-depth analysis of the Search Engine Optimization on TWW I can recommend a good resource with a free trial. Even though you get a lot of search engine traffic it can’t hurt to get more of it.

    Wikipedia is not one of my favorite entities. It used to be a good resource open to the public but is now a commercial entity (in my view) controlled by groups of corporate mercenaries (e.g. PR firms) that exempt themselves from its rules and ban anyone who takes them on.

    I’d have had lots of bad experiences with the Wikipedia editor community.

    So, yes, people are linking to Wikipedia for commercial purposes as its search engine placement is high.

    Congrats on doing so well on the tech side!

  20. Marshall wrote:

    The spam e-mails you’re getting are from scammers that create sites called link farms – pages of links created to make your site look more popular. They usually fool Google long enough to charge you $5000 for appearing on the first page of a certain search engine term before Google completely bans your site because Google doesn’t like it when people try to outright buy search engine placement.

    Trust me. I know.

  21. To Whom It May Concern

    I do not know Bob or Gayle Grenier nor have I met or talked with them. Nevertheless, in view of what is being touted as a great legally victory for Alex Grenier I thought that the readers of this website might find the following letter from the Grenier attorney very interesting:

    Press Release

    This is a copy of a press release sent to the Fresno Bee today March 5th, 2013, from Bob and Gayle Grenier’s attorney, in Visalia Ca.

    “As you are aware, our office appeared in court this morning for the purpose of providing oral argument to the court concerning the tentative ruling and the status of Bob Grenier as a limited public figure. The court in that regard will make a determination concerning whether or not pastor Bob Grenier is a limited public figure. The court indicated that a ruling on that issue would be forthcoming within the next few days.

    Additionally, the court denied the motion of defendant, Alex Grenier and Tim Taylor as to Gayle Grenier and as such she will be able to proceed with her causes of action against Alex Grenier and Tim Taylor. Trial dates in that regard will be set at the continued Case Management Conference that will be held on April 9, 2013. On that same date the court will consider evidence and hear argument concerning defendants’ motion as it relates to pastor Bob Grenier.

    As you may expect, the plaintiffs were pleased with the court’s ruling in that Gayle will be able to pursue her claims against Alex Grenier and Tim Taylor relating to the severe emotional distress they have caused to her. Both pastor, Bob Grenier and Gayle Grenier are thankful to all of the individuals who have provided support to each of them over the past few years and to those who have assisted them in this matter.”

  22. @ Calvary Chapel:

    FYI – The WWJS (#WhoWouldJesusSue) team is investigating the above comment. The same comment was posted on my blog and Alex Grenier’s Calvary Chapel Abuse blog. The ISP address is from Russia. I left a comment jokingly asking if Bob Grenier has any friends in Russia and got a fascinating response in the comments: http://goo.gl/1bVfI

    There’s never a dull moment when blogging, I tell you.

  23. @ Calvary Chapel:

    Wow, a comment all the way from Russia! Did you know that I come from a Russian immigrant family on my dad’s side? Hmm (is that you Bob or friends hiding behind an IP? I’m feeling it.)

    Let me make this perfectly clear. Any mother who sues her son has turned in her mother card but it appears, to me, that she did that a long time ago. Let’s see how this sells in the press. Gayle, you are making a very big mistake. There is time to turn this around.

    The reason it is a win is patently clear to anyone who understands these issues. Gayle will need to prove that Tim, Paul and Alex, along with others, engaged in a campaign to knowingly lie in order to defame her. That will be almost impossible to prove. This is a fool’s errand. Need I say Sandusky??

    Gayle and the rest of these folks, including Bob, will bring scorn upon themselves, Calvary Chapel and the church universal. TWW and others, on the other hand, are showing that there are some in the church who want to expose sin.

    Nothing says Jesus loves you like a lawsuit, Gayle. Never, ever forget this. The public sure won’t

  24. Hey Calvary Chapel person!

    IP addresses from Russia are sooo bogus and we know it means you are afraid to tell us from where you are posting. It is totally suspicious.

  25. Good words, Dee.

    This link was posted on my blog this morning: http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/03/05/3200525/visalia-pastors-wife-can-sue-son.html From that article, it appears that the court is making the distinction that Gayle is not a figure of public interest and so her part of the case will go to trial.

    This is not a big deal – Tim and Alex will provide more documentation and the court will see that it is not libel. Alex has done a fantastic job with keeping records/documentation. Tim and Alex will be fine. Bob and Gayle might need to start collecting a special "love offering" at church or something to prepare to pay for Tim and Alex's attorney fees. Oh, and did I mention they have 3 attorneys involved in the case?

  26. Dee, Deb, & Julie Anne,

    When I first read that the Russians were weighing in I thought, maybe we should take up a collection to hire some body guards for y'all ( ;

    Calvary folks are using thug tactics.

  27. Interesting that “Calvery Chapel” person felt the need to represent the “other side” here and on other related blogs covering these events. Just goes to show you what kind of “Christian” characters we’re dealing with here. The underlying smugness and, possibly, intimidation seems in keeping with what Alex has been trying all along to expose. The intent of that post was to deflate the excitement we feel for Alex and Tim overcoming a big hurdle. Instead, I’m more concerned with what lurks beneath the surface of Calvary Chapel’s lofty image. What else does Calvary Chapel want to keep hidden?

  28. Got word from a source: The judge’s final “official” ruling is that BG is a limited purpose public figure. That alone is a huge win. The final ruling is 6 pages long and very complex, I’ll need to hear from our attorneys what it all means, but the one thing, so far, that is crystal clear: BG is a public figure which raises the bar quite high. He must prove “Actual Malice” which means he must prove we dont’ believe the credible sources we have and that we dont’ believe what we reported from those many sources. No actual malice occurred, I believe my brother and the many others and I have the right to express such publicly and call for justice and accountability etc.

  29. Alex– Congrats and a continual prayer and love towards you and your sibs. Don’t worry, you all will be fine.

  30. I thought this was funny, it made me laugh so hard: “As you may expect, the plaintiffs were pleased with the court’s ruling in that Gayle will be able to pursue her claims against Alex Grenier and Tim Taylor relating to the severe emotional distress they have caused to her…”

    Really, Gayle? Distress they caused YOU? Huh… I’d say she earned all the distress she’d get from here to eternity for allowing someone to treat her children that way. Ever heard of sins of omission? She is as much the monster as her husband for what she allowed to happen to her little ones. What a sad excuse for a woman and a mom. She is insufferable.

  31. Thanks guys.

    Ya what a “Victory for Jesus!” that my mom might get to sue for emotional distress for calling out her public figure husband for his injustices, IMO.

    It will be very sad if BG is successful in getting her to continue with such a lawsuit, IMO. I’m hoping for the best, prepared for the worst. I believe it is a very weak claim if it is allowed to proceed, a claim I think we’ll win rather quickly.

  32. Did Bob Grenier actually appear in court accompanied by a lot of cops in uniform?

    If so, it was a dumb move that probably influenced the ruling. Judges do NOT like intimidation attempts by plaintiffs.

  33. Well, I would say everyday there is soihnemtg to repent about- whether the wrong word was spoken or we did not take action in area where there was needed intervention. So in this case I do not know if I would have used the word repentance because it singles out the victim as someone who needs to make this whole situation of abuse right. When a victim is abused the process takes time and God has His time and place for healing with the victim of abuse. This can take years and I believe that any healing and forgiveness has to be the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit intervening. I think the biggest thing for the victim to me is the willingness and surrender to just let the hurt go into the Lords hands and let Him heal. This is where I believe it starts, not with repentance. Repentance may come down the road when that person has healed and see the areas that they were faulty on.Even though I am not a victim of abuse, I know this is the case with areas of sin in my own life that I had a hard time to let go. I would pray and pray nothing happened. I would get so frustrated at my own sin because nothing would get cleared up. We have all been there- some of us deal with anger or pride, etc..AND those issues of sin seem to last for years.So I had to just trust- Soon the Holy Spirit started softening my heart and I knew that He was working on my sin. Gods way of dealing with sin is always convicting and revealing, but always gentle and assuring; showing us that His way is the most effective in dealing with sin. Sometimes we as friends, pastors, or family members want to make things right and get problems dealt with so we end up interjecting our own methods of dealing with certain sins or faults or even abuses. Not everyone gets there by the same methods. God deals with people in His own time and His own place. What God wants are people whose hearts are trusting in Him to get them where He wants them to be- no matter how long or how hard the process could be. If He is powerful enough to cleanse us of our sins, He sure is powerful enough to deal with our sins also if we are so willing.