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Hang on to your seats, folks, this seems to be the week for church lawsuits! I have covered this Calvary Chapel story recently and now it is a reality. The first link shares personal accounts by Pastor Bob Grenier’s children and is a must read:
Calvary Chapel Pastor Pastor Bob Grenier: Stories of Abuse As Told by His
Alex Grenier Responds to Notice of Imminent Lawsuit by Calvary Chapel Visalia & Pastor Bob Grenier
Here is a new article that was published today in the Fresno Bee.
****New response from defendant Alex Grenier below
– The Fresno Bee
Visalia Calvary Church pastor, the Rev. Bob Grenier, and his wife, Gayle, have sued their estranged son, Alex Grenier, accusing him of defamation and cyberbullying.
Alex Grenier, 40, launched the website Calvarychapelabuse.com more than two years ago and posted accusations that his father committed felony child abuse against him and his three brothers while pretending to be an upstanding preacher and police chaplain.
But Bob Grenier said Thursday that he and his wife have had enough of their son’s “online hate campaign” against them and are suing to stop their son and to tell their side in court.
“Alex has orchestrated a cyberbullying campaign against me, his mother, our church and our movement,” Bob Grenier said. “We do not want to live with this kind of cyberbullying.”
Alex Grenier, who lives in Idaho, said he will not back down. “He frames it as a hate campaign. It’s not defamation. We’ll prove it in court that it’s not defamation. The stuff I’m alleging is true.”
Alex Grenier said he has not yet seen the lawsuit and does not have a lawyer. He said he will represent himself for now.
“The real ‘hate campaign’ has been going on for over 30 years at Calvary Chapel Visalia and in our home at the hands of pastor and Visalia Police Department Chaplain Bob Grenier,” he said in an email.
Bob Grenier’s lawyer, Nick Pritchett of Visalia, said he does not expect the lawsuit to settle out of court. In February, a trial date will be set for later in 2013, he said.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Tulare County Superior Court also named Tim Taylor of Visalia, a former Calvary Church member who, the lawsuit said, libeled Bob Grenier in online statements submitted anonymously.
Attempts to reach Taylor for comment were unsuccessful.
Besides libel and slander, the lawsuit alleges that both Alex Grenier and Taylor engaged in intentional infliction of emotional distress of the pastor and his wife.
“Something has to stop him,” said Gayle Grenier, 61. “We can’t keep being slandered. It’s no way to live, and it’s been going on for years. My son needs to be stopped.”
Bob Grenier, 65, has been the pastor at Visalia Calvary Church for 34 years. Alex Grenier is his stepson whom he has helped raise since Alex was 3 years old.
The lawsuit does not name stepson Geoff Grenier or the couple’s biological son, Paul Grenier, who are also estranged from their parents. Reached by phone, Paul Grenier said he last saw his father eight years ago and backs his brother Alex. “I witnessed what he witnessed,” Paul Grenier, 30, said.
The accusations of abuse broke two years ago in The Bee. Alex Grenier contended that his father beat the boys so badly that the punishment went beyond what is legally acceptable.
“We aren’t talking gray area here,” he wrote in one post. “Clear cut state-defined abuse including, but not limited to, hitting with objects causing deep purple bruises on the lower back, backs of legs and buttocks. Drawing blood.”
Alex and Paul went to Visalia police two years ago and filed a complaint on the alleged abuse.
The statute of limitations is three years for felony physical abuse of a child; the alleged incidents took place in the 1980s and 1990s.
Bob Grenier said he and his wife will address the accusations of abuse in court.
“We’ve remained silent for eight years,” he said. “The purpose (of the lawsuit) is to bring clarification — the truth — to these matters.”
Folks, we need to be praying for Alex and Tim as they face this difficult ordeal. Alex has been blogging about his own abuse provides a forum at Calvary Chapel Abuse to discuss these issues. The issues of abuse reach further than this specific case. in reading countless personal stories there, we can see a systemic problem throughout Calvary Chapel churches. The world is watching now.
UPDATE 10/19/12 8:33 AM PACIFIC: Defendant, Alex Grenier, responds to the lawsuit here:
Here are a couple key paragraphs:
I have spoken out publicly and consistently about many abuses by Bob Grenier and Calvary Chapel…including the child abuse, the molestation, the corruption, pill addiction/abuse, telling a Calvary Chapel mother to not report child molestation of her daughters to authorities, cult-like counseling, bullying/harassing of female staff, lying, manipulating etc etc etc.
There are many errors in the lawsuit, the biggest being that my speaking out publicly and exercising my First Amendment Free Speech Rights to deal with these serious issues that are in the Public Interest is “not” defamation/libel and my consistently speaking out and warning people and calling publicly for accountability in these matters is “not” a “hate campaign” nor is it “cyberbullying” no matter how many times Bob repeats it in his lawsuit.
If Bob Grenier and by extension Calvary Chapel (who he represents as an Affiliated Pastor) are allowed to get away with framing Free Speech, Whistleblowing and exposing abuse and corruption in the church as a “hate campaign” and “cyberbullying” and “defamation/libel”…then the Chilling Effect it will have on others is extremely frightening. This is a very important matter. If those who wield the Power of Public Figure and Position of Trust Pastor/Chaplain are allowed to win frivolous lawsuits in an attempt to cover over their bad actions and silence victims and critics and watchdogs, then beware, you might be next…and the result will be the covering over and enabling of much more abuse and corruption within the “church” and it will make it easier for Children to be abused and molested.