The defamation suit trick

A court ruled against an ex-priest who filed a defamation action against the Roman Catholic Diocese, finding that a diocese spokeswoman was expressing an opinion rather than defaming him by stating in an NPR interview that she visited the home of an alleged sexual assault victim and told him she believed his claims of misconduct by this priest against him.

Three police agencies declined to prosecute the priest, citing the expiration of the statute of limitations and evidentiary problems. The statute of limitations in sex crime cases, especially sex crimes committed against children, needs to be abolished in every state in the country. The defamation threat/lawsuit needs to be recognized as part of the trick bag of many predatory individuals and people who have the money/power to seek revenge against anyone who legitimately threatens their carefully crafted persona or exposes their evil underbelly.

The failure of the defamation claim on the grounds of an expression of opinion was the most logical in this case. There is also the little matter of truth. If the statement at issue is substantially true, a defamation claim cannot succeed because you have a right to publish truthful information even if it injures another’s reputation. Defaming a priest by saying you believe an “alleged” victim’s accusations? Please. For once I’m glad a diocese prevailed.

One thought on “The defamation suit trick”

  1. No offence to Marny, not meant as an attack.
    The Traverse City Record-Eagle article, Saturday, March 12, 1977, isn’t “about” North Fox Island specifically, nor does it link Chris Busch to North Fox, Brother Paul’s Children’s Mission, Francis Shelden or Dyer Grossman. It is about;
    Rep. Larry Burkhalter, D-Lapeer proposing legislation that “would also make it a felony for parents or guardians to encourage or coerce their children to serve as models for pornographic pictures or films”…and…”make those who produce and finance child pornography subject to a prison term of from three to 10 years, and provide lesser terms for other offenders”.

    And it is about “two recent incidents in which adults allegedly involved youths in sexually explicit activities” and what police can do about it; the two, separate incidents are
    “State police seized 18 rolls of film from a Marine City man who was named in the corporation papers of Brother Paul’s Children’s Mission, an alleged homosexual pornography ring involving young boys in Port Huron and on North Fox Island off Grand Traverse Bay” – referring to Gerald Richards.
    (See D/S Gorzen supplementary report 9/237/76, detailing complaints, investigation, etc., of Richards, Shelden, Dyer Grossman, Bud Vermilye & Tennessee Boys Camp, Brother Paul’s Mission, and other associates of theirs under investigation at that time. Does not mention Chris Busch. Property seizure receipt for “box containing 18 reels of 8mm obscene movies” is page 9)

    and the second one is;
    “Flint police also confiscated eight rolls of film from Christopher Busch, 25, of Birmingham, one of three men arrested and charged with criminal sexual conduct involving 10 to 14-year-old boys. Police there say -as many as 50 youths could be involved”
    “At a news conference Friday, Burkhalter said his legislation, “while aimed at one segment of the pornography trade, is not an anti- pornography bill as such. “Rather, it is a child abuse bill aimed at one of the newer forms of child abuse,” said Burkhalter, a 25-year-old father of two. Burkhalter said this legislation would toughen up a 1931 statute which makes it a misdemeanor to “deprave” the morals of a child”

    I know it’s not very clear, in that article.
    The “8 ROLLS of film” confiscated from Busch, is actually the 8 REELS of film seized by Waldron from the Busch home in Alma;
    “He [Waldron] said that after they arrested Busch, they searched his house and found ropes, shotguns, marijuana, and a suitcase with child pornography. Waldron described the pornography as being 8-10 8mm type homemade movies involving children having sex in a tent in a wooded area. Waldron said that you could see the arm of an adult male in the movie, directing the kids on what to do sexually, because they didn’t know. He stated that this suitcase also contained commercially produced child porn magazines, photos and movies. Waldron said that this property was all confiscated and brought to the Flint Police Department, as part of their case. He went on to say that he remembers at some point in February or March of 1977, the FBI came and picked up the suitcase of pornography to analyze the victims involved”

    The boys in a tent setting is less significant than it sounds; J. Tazelaar photographed Richard’s boys, in tents, at a campground, but it was; St. Clair TwP Wilderness Campground.
    There might be another way to get definitive evidence of a link between Busch & Shelden.
    If someone can provide me with clear, like school yearbook photos, of Brent at 11-13 and Scott at 9-11, I will try to pull a favor and see.

    Btw, that film went first to the Traverse City Eagle articles lady, she took it somewhere for developing. Might be a more detailed record of the content, somewhere.

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