This post regards a situation described here, which is right in my backyard, in Milwaukee. Ingrid writes,
I have a message for Vic, for Randy, and for anyone else who believes that Scripture’s direct instructions on handling conflict don’t apply: We will not be bullied.
We will not stop speaking the truth about what has gone on, and no attorney letters, threats and throwing weight around by anyone of influence matters one bit.
We have tried for years to get help and to resolve this in a Christ-honoring manner to no avail. Peacemakers, think about that name, were not wanted. Attorneys were. Onward Christian soldiers.
The only option for those who claim to possess Jesus Christ is biblical mediation of conflict. That has been resoundingly refused by Randall Melchert, the top officer legally of VCY America, inc. It has been resoundingly rejected by Vic Eliason and Randy Melchert, men who prefer to pass on stories about headless squirrels and retain attorneys to try to stifle the truth.
She also writes,
My sister called tonight and asked if I’d checked the mail. I hadn’t. Vic Eliason, our father, is threatening to sue us for attempting to get this shameful situation into biblical mediation with Peacemakers.
He is characterizing all we have spoken, the truth, as defamation.
….My father may not be aware that we have a close friend who is a lawyer. Our friend, who actually has significant experience with defamation has pointed out the following.
First, a lawyer with experience in this area of law would identify the supposed falsehoods. This “gentleman” is unable to do that.
We wonder–what is false? That we requested biblical mediation? That his daughter and his two sons-in-law were forced out of VCY? That he tried to bribe his grandson into bearing false witness against his own mother? That he sent pornography to me under a false name and posted on blogs as a woman?
None of these things is false–all are provably true. And this lawyer apparently doesn’t realize that defamation does not mean “bad for Vic” but means actually false.
From Julie Anne Smith’s latest post, VCY America Founder, Vic Eliason, Sends Letter Threatening Legal Action to His Daughter, Ingrid Schlueter:
I sometimes have to laugh when attorneys use the “defamatory” word. It is up to the courts to decide what word or phrase is defamatory or not, not some podunk Wisconsin lawyer throwing around legalese to threaten (disclaimer: this is JA’s opinion, lest some whacknut attorney try to sue me for defamation).
Mr. Russell, you would be wise to look up defamation lawsuits and see how many cases are in fact successful.
….Now, if Ingrid Schlueter is telling her story as she sees it, that is her perceived truth. In court, Ingrid’s perceived truth would not be judged as a lie (even if it is in fact a lie).
The plaintiffs in a defamation lawsuit would have to prove that Ingrid (and her sister, or anyone else named in the lawsuit) intentionally lied.
….Let’s just cut to the chase. This letter from Attorney Patrick Russell is a farce. He is throwing around big words acting like he’s going to make a real case over this situation. He doesn’t have one. It’s a bully method to tell someone to shut up (disclaimer: Julie Anne’s opinion).
Abusers and bullies use all sorts of methods to control and using civil courts and threatening letters is just one more method. It happened to me, it happened in the G*** lawsuit, and now we see it here with Ingrid Schlueter’s father.
It’s important to acknowledge what this really is and what it is not. This letter is Vic Eliason’s attempt to control who can talk. It is not an honest attempt to resolve conflict in a Biblical fashion (as the Schlueters have attempted to do via a mediator).
It is certainly not appropriate behavior for a Christian to sue another Christian. It is not loving and gracious. Is this what the 1 Corinthians passage is referring to when they use the word reviler?
There is no humility in paying an attorney to bully family members. Imagine what family times might be like with the Eliason, Schlueter, and extended families. I suspect Thanksgiving and Christmas will be a bit solemn as this fractured family reels with a pending lawsuit over their heads.
This shameful situation is now public. I hope Mr. Eliason will retract his attorney’s ridiculous letter and handle his family conflict using appropriate Biblical methods.
This public display of suing family members in the civil courts makes him look like a fool and a bully.
This all sounds very familiar, as I, too, was threatened with a lawsuit for suggesting biblical mediation to resolve the situation with my abusers, if they began coming to my church full-time.
In my case, I called the bluff and immediately went to my priest about the situation (though, of course, I had already spoken to my priest about it previously, because I needed his counsel).
My abusers pretended to continue trying to intimidate me and be oh-so-scary. But in truth, they backed down, and did nothing. The statute of limitations has long since run out for them to sue me for going to my priest about this. And, well, a policeman told me that they could not sue me for that, anyway.
But not everyone is so fortunate. Various abuse bloggers have been sued in recent years: Julie Anne, Christina Enevoldsen….But the bloggers keep winning, or could still win. Hopefully Ingrid will not get sued, or–if she does–will win the case.
Keep speaking the truth without fear!