Doug Phillips & Vision Forum, Lourdes Torres vs Doug Phillips lawsuit, Sexual Abuse/Assault and Churches, Vision Forum

Which “Attorney David Gibbs” Leads the Lawsuit of Lourdes Torres-Manteufel vs Douglas Phillips – the Father, or the Son?


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There are two Christian lawyers named David C. Gibbs – Jr. is the father and III is the son. This post seeks to halt the ongoing confusion about which Gibbs serves as lead attorney for Lourdes Torres-Manteufel in her civil suit against Doug Phillips and Vision Forum.

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I recently contacted David C. Gibbs, III. He is the lead attorney for Lourdes Torres-Manteufel in her civil suit against Doug Phillips plus his Vision Forum, Inc., business and his Vision Forum Ministries non-profit. I’d come up against a recurring issue on my own blog with commenters, and on other websites, about exactly which Attorney Gibbs people were talking about – Gibbs III or his father, Gibbs, Jr. I’d also gotten a number of emails and blog post comments that didn’t distinguish between the two.

  • Which one was consultant to the board of Bill Gothard’s Institute in Basic Life Principles?
  • Which one was involved in the notorious criminal trial of now-convicted pastor Jack Schaap?

Spiritual abuse survivors were outraged that Lourdes Torres-Manteufel might be placing the future of her lawsuit in the hands of someone with a notorious reputation for covering up abuse of power.

But it just didn’t seem to make sense that someone involved in those kinds of cases would take up the case against a patriarchy movement leader like Doug Phillips. So I pursued some leads from Spiritual Sounding Board commenters and others to figure things out. The confusion is understandable, really. Both are lawyers, and Gibbs III did work for/with Gibbs, Jr., at his father’s Christian Law Association (CLA) organization for a period of time. But, given the horrific abuse perpetrated in the above situations, identifying which Gibbs was involved would make a huge difference in having correct details.

The following chart was pieced together from material provided by Attorney David C. Gibbs, III, via email and from his National Center for Life and Liberty (NCLL) website. The few short statements after that were lightly edited from quotes he provided. Attorney Gibbs III then reviewed and approved them before I posted them here at Spiritual Sounding Board. [Click on the chart below to see a larger, clearer version; and click here for a downloadable PDF of this article and the chart.]

Which Gibbs - Father or SonWhich Gibbs - Father or SonAbout His Father’s Philosophy

It turns out that the son is not very much like his father. The professional paths of the two Gibbs attorneys diverged when the son could not endorse his father’s old-school theology with its patriarchal philosophy.

Embarrassingly to David, his father has stood with many child abusers in the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) world over the years rather than publicly renouncing their sin. David’s father is of that old-school philosophy that tends to cover-up and hide as opposed to being transparent, open, and honest. That is why David’s father meets with Bill Gothard’s board as they try to cover-up and ignore Dr. Gothard’s immoral activities. In stark contrast, David Gibbs III is suing Doug Phillips on behalf of the woman he victimized, Lourdes Torres-Manteufel.

Attorney Gibbs III disagrees with many of the positions, decisions, and recommendations that his father and Christian Law Association support as they spend donated church money to protect and cover-up the moral failings of sinful leaders. Attorney Gibbs III supports and promotes child protection and full ministry transparency and accountability. In David’s opinion, CLA and his father have been on the wrong side of these issues for a number of years. That is one of the many reasons why David Gibbs III cannot endorse and work alongside his aging father in ministry.

About Alleged Criminal Issues

Several blog comments had alleged that Attorney Gibbs III had been arrested in Florida on charges of spousal abuse, even linking to the Florida county arrest log to where one could supposedly find the record of the arrest.

He has NO criminal record, and he and his wife have NEVER had any domestic dispute as falsely alleged in these unsubstantiated and slanderous posts. David and his wife will celebrate twenty-one years of marriage in July 2014.

About Pushing Back Against Systems of Abuse

His website bio summarizes his philosophy well.

Attorney Gibbs believes: “If it’s wrong, fight it. If it’s right, fight for it.” His life verse is Matthew 25:40, where Jesus said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Concluding Thoughts

While there was an opportunity to merely copy this material from various comments online, it was important for how we do things at SSB for me to contact Attorney Gibbs III directly, and wait to post this information until I’d heard from him – even while this contains much of the exact same information. I believe we need to separate the fused identities of father and son, move past any temporary association the son had with his father’s patriarchy-supporting CLA, and embrace this man whose philosophy on abuse puts Lourdes Torres-Manteufel in good stead.

Please keep praying for Lourdes and her husband Nolan, for Attorney Gibbs III’s leadership in the progress of the lawsuit, and for the ultimate uncloaking of Vision Forum and patriarchy as a “total institution” with “bounded choice,” as Cindy Kunsman’s guest post series has been exploring in detail. This case is strategic to shining the light of truth on this dark and abusive movement.

See also the resource post on the lawsuit for more detailed information, plus references, and links.

UPDATE from Julie Anne 5/27/14:  Since posting this article, a couple of commenters have provided more information regarding David Gibbs III that I was unaware of.  Please read the comments.  While this information is worth noting (and hopefully we can get some of it cleared up), I believe we must stand behind Lourdes and this lawsuit. Also, minor edits were made today to correct grammar and to clarify points.

97 thoughts on “Which “Attorney David Gibbs” Leads the Lawsuit of Lourdes Torres-Manteufel vs Douglas Phillips – the Father, or the Son?”

  1. Thanks for definitively clearing this up. There has been so much confusion.

    Lourdes’s husband is Nolan.


  2. It’s one thing to agree to be someone’s attorney because you believe even the worst defendant is entitled to legal representation in our justice system. It’s another thing to have a pattern of trying to get abusers off with the lightest sentence possible because of all the ‘good’ they’ve done otherwise over the years of ‘ministry’, or whatever excuse is produced. A good lawyer should be prioritizing the right and ethical thing over any ideological/religious precommitments.


  3. @Marsha — thanks for catching my mistake that I missed during the editing/last-check review process — got it corrected! My apologies to Nolan and Lourdes for my error.


  4. It would be funny to see these two duke it out in court. I don’t see it happening anytime soon as senior is a behind the scenes WHITEwasher that seldom darkens the door of a court room. His son is the type to file garbage cases demanding huge damages and then retreat instead of litigating, settling for a pat on the back and nuisance payment of an insignificant amount. I believe that is exactly what you will see occur in the Doug Phillips matter ( if not outright dismissal of the case) and then Sir Douglas will put on his 14th century best and spend the rest of the year pompously pontificating on how abused he was by the misuse of the legal system and vicious crazy women bloggers ( all of which are of course bitter, angry , divorcees that have turned lesbian , have lesbian fantasies Or at least have stayed at a Holiday Inn express where lesbians have also stayed).


  5. WOAH! David Gibbs III was the attorney for Chuck Phelps (now goes by Charles Phelps on his church website) at the rape trial of Ernest “Ernie” Willis. I have notes from the trial online here: See specifically day four and five (

    I noticed David Gibbs III as the attorney for Lourdes Torres-Manteufel when I first read about her lawsuit. I had heard that he was making changes in his law firm, but never had a need to check it out. When I saw he was representing her I looked at the same websites you did. I’m not sure if he is “changed” or rehabilitating his image. I haven’t personally seen him since the trial of Tina Anderson’s rapist in May 2011. Did he tell you when the split from his dad occurred?

    Regardless, I personally observed with my own eyes, his behavior in the courtroom during the trial of Tina Anderson’s rapist and there were others that observed there with me. I think if David Gibbs III is really a changed man he should issue a public statement and repudiate his past involvement with IFB churches that covered up abuse or did not handle it properly. I am not doubting that you spoke with him, but there are certainly more sides to the story than his.

    Notice in the trial notes from Day Five the story about David Gibbs and his son taking the seat Tina Anderson had been using during one of the courtroom breaks. I saw this with my own eyes. It was awful. When the DA had David Gibbs III move, he left his son there. I had to point out to the DA that the son of Chuck Phelps’ attorney was sitting there by Tina Anderson’s advocate.

    Still to this day, Chuck Phelps has not apologized to Tina Anderson.

    If indeed David Gibbs III is a changed man and not just trying to change his image to get a new law firm going, he has people he has hurt that should be able to access a public statement from him.

    *Note. One of the mornings of the trial week, David Gibbs III met with Chris Leaf and her husband Daniel Leaf (you can read more about him here at the hotel where a number of supporters for Tina Anderson were staying. I can’t remember off the top of my head if David Gibbs III happened to be staying at the same hotel, but can verify it pretty quickly. Chris Leaf never would say during the trial who paid for David Gibbs III to represent her.


  6. Hi Laurie,

    I just arrived home from camp and so I’m not too clear-headed at the moment. What is the significance of Gibbs III staying at the same hotel?

    I must admit that although I have heard the names Phelps/Tina Anderson, I have not followed that story. It sounds like there are still more questions to be answered.


  7. Hi Julie Anne, There isn’t any really significance… just that the reason several of our group were able to observe him was that they were all staying there (it was coincidence–not planned).

    I have seen too much first hand of David Gibbs III just through Tina Anderson’s story alone to believe that if he has truly had a change of heart he should make a public statement. Also, I had personal interaction with some families that left Colonial Hills Baptist Church in Indianapolis (Charles Phelps’ church) after David Gibbs III went there prior to Ernest Willis’ trial for raping Tina Anderson. I guess for me, David Gibbs III reputation is a big picture issue. I can’t personally believe he’s changed unless he makes a public statement.


  8. When I read this post, I went back to find the live tweets from the trial mentioned above because I knew there was some shenanigans there involving David Gibbs. It was David Gibbs lll and his seating had to be changed more than once during the trial. You can find the live tweets here. Scroll down for the WMUR Channel 9 Live tweets. Each day of the trial is numbered.


  9. Laurie,
    Do you remember breakfast at the hotel the morning Gibbs was “counseling” Chris Leaf about her testimony? It was so hard to bite my tongue. David Gibbs III was so creepy the week of the Willis trial. I’m all for it if he really has changed; but one would think if that was the case, he’d have some public apologies to issue… Starting with Tina Anderson.


  10. Sorry about the double post. Didn’t see the first one go through. Gibbs, Daniel and Chris stayed at the same hotel we did.


  11. My questions:

    1. To my knowledge, David Gibbs III was with the CLA (his dad) at least through the time that he represented Chuck Phelps at Ernie Willis’ trial in May 2011. You said above: “Both are lawyers, and Gibbs III did work for/with Gibbs, Jr., at his father’s Christian Law Association (CLA) organization for a period of time.” I believe that “period of time” would be most of his career. Did he tell you when he separated from the CLA?

    2. If he was on staff at CLA in May 2012, here is what the CLA was advising churches to do in response to child abuse allegations: “Third, every church must properly respond to abuse allegations. If abuse allegations are made, the pastor should immediately contact the church’s attorney to ensure proper handling of the situation. The church should then conduct an internal investigation of the allegations. You should inform the worker of the allegations and discuss the situation with the worker. You must also immediately remove the accused from their position while the investigation is conducted. This protects the worker and the ministry. You should also contact your insurance carrier and put them on notice. After discussing the findings with your attorney, you would then decide whether this situation requires reporting to the authorities.” (backup copy of article here: ***Note, they were advising thinking of contacting law enforcement last. wow. If he believes what he told you above, I would think a public statement would help people to know he has changed his opinion/advise for churches in a HUGE way. I hope that he has.

    3. The criminal record issue is interesting. I personally know people that saw his picture on the website linked in this post
    It was his picture. They saw him in court and knew his face. There is a difference between saying “I have no criminal record” and saying “I have never been arrested.” It’s true that the original link at is gone. Also true that any vestige of the page is gone even from the internet archives. If he was arrested and the charges dropped that is different than saying there is no criminal record. It’s possible for misunderstandings to happen. If an arrest happened and then the misunderstandings were resolved that is great. It seems to be a stretch to say something was falsely alleged if he was arrested and the charges dropped though.

    I personally have hope for everyone. I’d love to see Chuck Phelps apologize to Tina Anderson. I’d love to see David Gibbs III openly repudiate his past associations with protecting IFB churches that did not handle abuse properly. I have never been able to stop believing in the redemptive power of God’s grace in anyone’s life.


  12. Tiquatue–yes, the live tweets are reporting all all gathered there. At some point I combined it all into one document to make it easier for searching. It’s stored here:

    in that document there is a table of contents that I created to help people find info quickly from both Maddie Hanna of the Concord Monitor and also the WMUR reporters.

    The live tweets confirm what is in the trial notes from the blog I listed above that’s also linked to my name here. Thanks!


  13. If David Gibbs III represented Chuck Phelps, then I have serious misgivings about him representing Lourdes.

    Phelps’ behavior toward Tina Anderson was reprehensible; he makes my skin crawl.


  14. Oh boy, have you noticed that when you start digging around churches and abuse issues, nothing is as clean as it seems and so many paths of people cross? I really don’t know what is going on here and if what Laurie and melaniejb say are true, then it does raise more questions than answers.

    It would be good if David Gibbs III could address these specific issues and put them at rest as these comments that keep coming up are a distraction to Lourdes’ case.

    When reading the Lourdes lawsuit, it is a well-written complaint and describes so much of what we read about in abuse systems. I don’t know the sequence of events leading to Lourdes finding Gibbs III to represent her, but what I do know is this: we need to stand behind Lourdes Torres-Manteufel and offer support to her. While I think it’s appropriate to make a mental note of previous cases, I would like to urge caution in making a big stink about a specific old case for the sake of Lourdes.

    I think it is so important that there is a massive public show of support for Lourdes and the lawsuit. It’s ok to not like her attorney – everybody has their own personal opinions, and he may in fact have some skeletons in his closet, but I think most of us agree that the lawsuit itself, its focus on the oppressive and abusive system of Patriarchy and the Total Institution is the right direction and it really has been a powerful message to those who have been waving the Patriarchy bandwagon and oppressing women/girls for years.


  15. “Oh boy, have you noticed that when you start digging around churches and abuse issues, nothing is as clean as it seems and so many paths of people cross?”

    Yep. I see it all the time. People want white hat/black hat dichotomies and it just does not work that way. I wish it did. Brent Detwiler is one example. He was a shepherding cult pastor. He still believes he was doing God’s work at SGM. But he is also an invaluable resource because he documented everything. I am glad he is sharing his information but would I trust him as a pastor? No way.

    It often takes people from the inside. People who were part of the evil to expose it or even understand how it works. I hate that for all of us. To look at it another way, is there anyone else in that capacity who would better understand how DP operates? In fact, I think that will be even more intimidating for DP than if it were some atheist lawyer with a big reputation.

    Whatever the case, it was their choice. I hope she wins big time.


  16. Julie Anne, I know I haven’t myself said anything about David Gibbs III representing her until I saw your post here appearing to give him a “clean bill of health” so to speak. I admire Lourdes for fighting back. Sometimes a civil suit is the only way to make an abuser or an abusive church/organization do the right thing. I doubt that her attorney would do anything but his best to get her fair restitution. That said, hopefully he will be willing to clarify the situation for you. I hope he has changed. If he hasn’t, I still wish the best for Lourdes, but definitely couldn’t agree with the kind of strong recommendation you have provided above for him. I won’t be out there on the internet campaigning against him since my goal (especially with the new trial coming up) is to do what I can to support Tina Anderson’s objective of communicating support and hope to survivors and also encouraging churches to do the right thing.


  17. Laurie, I think we are on the same page. I am all about supporting victims and those who have no voice. And where there is confusion over Gibbs III, I think full disclosure is important to show integrity and transparency. I hope this can be cleared up. Please keep in mind, evidently you and others have been following the Tina Anderson case for some time and have some history that I have not been been aware of, so when this article was posted it was on the basis of seeing confusion over father/son, not being aware of any other issue.

    I am going to add a disclaimer to the article to encourage folks to read the comments.


  18. Lydia makes a very valid point. I know people that were “pastored” by Brent Detwiler and he was in LOCKSTEP with CJ and his cronies. He did some of the same abusive B.S. to other people that was then done to him. NOW suddenly that is abuse, corruption and disqualifies from ministry BUT when Brent was on the SGM gravy train it was all very ok. He was literally singing CJs praises in front of a huge audience during a special service that essentially was a night of CJ worship. None of that apparently seemed inappropriate to Brent when he was being compensated very well for being one of CJs enablers. Once the ever narcissistic CJ betrayed Brent (as any Psychopath will eventually do) and deprived him of a SGM paycheck, Brent suddenly has a “change of heart” and is all about “exposure ministry” .

    I’m very happy to see SGM disintegrating and hope the remaining litigation will destroy the Fairfax Location, literally closing it. I’m not defending CJ in anyway (I think he is a dangerous CULT leader) however he wasn’t the only one leading the SGM parade. Brent played a role in exposing SGM but he is NOT innocent of wrong doing with respect to sheep abuse. He was obviously very willing to go along with it for a paycheck and participated in some of the same type of deplorable conduct he is now pointing fingers at CJ for. Brent needs to seek employment outside of ministry and work for a living like the rest of us living in the real world. Asking for donations to support his family was over the top in so many ways. He is just as unqualified for ministry as CJ and the rest of the SGM tyrants.

    The moral of the story is don’t trust any SGM “pastor” as far as you can throw them. I would recommend holding anyone that attends a SGM church at arms length at this point. If they still are in a SGM church at this time, that says a lot about them. Too much information has come out at this time for them to be “unaware” or in denial about the fact that they are in a CULT driven business, that masquerades as a church.


  19. Scott – I don’t know that I’d say Brent’s “conversion” was when he lost his paycheck. That’s a little unfair when we don’t know a man’s heart.

    In my church situation and elder remained at the church and then eventually left. Why did he leave? He left when it hit home close and personal and then the lightbulb went off. Each of us living under abuse has those aha moments, those moments where we hit the palm of our hand against our forehead and wonder why we missed it. I think the more important matter is not to try to figure out why someone got that aha moment, but be thankful that it finally occurred and they can see the “light.”

    One important thing to note that I was just discussing with a friend is that Gibbs III is a Second Generation Adult who lived in a strict IFB environment as a child. This is a difficult process to separate from that environment and there’s sometimes a one-step-forward-2-steps backward-type of thing going on. Boy, this stuff is messy.


  20. Another point I forgot to mention – – – Karen Campbell had posted a note in the comments here a while back saying she had permission to pass along a note from Gibbs III. I elected to not publish that comment (and sent Karen an e-mail explaining why). Karen and I have corresponded over the years and I greatly appreciate what she has done with regard to Patriarchy/Homeschool Movement, but because this case is so public and so important, I wanted to hear it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, and in full context. This post is the result of all of that. Gibbs III approved this post before it was published. That was important to me because of all the name confusion going on.


  21. Sorry for the interruption, but I have an important update. Mom is going back home this Friday. They got all the cancer, and her two weeks in rehab have strengthened her enough to take care of herself alone at home. Thank You, dear Lord!!!


  22. Julie Anne, you make a very good point! It is hard to see the light when you have been raised in a certain way. I am sure that the contrast between what Phelps initially said and what he admitted to on the stand after his journal was admitted into evidence was an eye opener for many. I thank God that Tina got justice.

    In any case, DG III is on the right side now and I hope he can get justice for Lourdes.


  23. @SCOTT:

    NOW suddenly that is abuse, corruption and disqualifies from ministry BUT when Brent was on the SGM gravy train it was all very ok.

    Amazing how Very OK it becomes when YOU’RE the one who Personally Benefits from the situation.

    “I Got Mine,
    I Got Mine,
    Now that I Got Mine…”
    — Glenn Frye


  24. Julie Anne: I would most definitely say that being on the other end of SGMs “church discipline” and being booted from the payroll had everything to do with it. Perhaps a combination of both, however the FACT remains that Brent was very much involved in ruining this Cult and people were mistreated by him on numerous occasions. I know some of these people and have heard their stories. Brent didn’t have a conversion, he is the same Brent just bounced from SGM and now on a path of revenge. I’m thankful the mean spiritedness he often displayed to church members is now directed at a deserving target, SGM but I’m well aware of his M.O. and not impressed by the “new Detwiler” as he has never repented for any of that. It was a collection of public offenses, against the body of Christ and not some secret sin between Brent & God. Families have been destroyed by SGM, Brent played a chief operating role in the Hackett jobs directed at people for years. He needs to repent, admit that it was sin, quit asking for financial support from fellow Christians AND GET A JOB.


  25. Scott – Because this stuff is so messy when someone is involved in a high-controlling church environment, I do not want to judge the thoughts and motives of others and don’t think it’s helpful to do so. I concur with your point on getting a job. We’ll have to watch and see how things turn out. I really don’t want to divert this thread into Brent/SGM, though, so I’ll leave it at that.


  26. Just wondering if anyone contacted Gibbs Jr. about this article. Seems like you are throwing him under the bus without giving him a chance to explain. I realize this article is specifically to point out who the correct lawyer is in the above case, but it paints a very negative portrait of the father.


  27. Renee,

    I am allowing Gibbs III to explain the differences between his father and himself here. Gibbs Jr. has a clear history that is indisputable. I have no need to provide a place for Gibbs Jr. The only reason that Gibbs III is being given this opportunity is because he represents a victim that I wholeheartedly support. This site defends victims of abuse, not defenders of abusers.


  28. To any attorneys out there, please jump in and comment on my perspective. I do record review and research for attorneys to help them prepare for cases. I also draw from theory in nursing regarding ethics and the nurse’s relationship to the legal system, as well as what I’ve observed of my husband who is often called as an expert witness concerning forensic toxicology.

    My purpose in writing this comment is not some show of support for the likes of Chuck Phelps, but rather a statement about the trappings of black and white thinking concerning the legal process. Gibbs III also a very messy grey matter for me personally for reasons that are not germane to this discussion.

    In short, I do not have high moral expectations for what the legal system produces, and I believe that to be reasonable/realistic.

    I don’t see the legal profession as anything remotely black and white. District attorneys prosecute crimes as one of many functions of the law. Defense attorneys represent and defend the legal rights of their clients, and there is a great degree of virtue in that in the broader sense. We all have a right to a fair trial, and if attorneys only took the cases of the truly moral client (most are a mixed back of black and white), they would never make any money. They are hired to serve and defend the legal rights of the client, not necessarily to champion moral justice in the specific sense. I think that they really relish the rewarding experience of actually having those two line up, but that doesn’t happen all the time.

    Though the law very generally speaks to moral principles, the legal world is not the real world. The person with a legal matter is a foreigner in the system, and they hire a native – an attorney – to act on their behalf within that legal world. Sometimes the law ends up speaking to moral matters and results in moral justice, but process has more to do with the legal process than it does directly with morality. Laws, in the general sense, protect rights but are not necessarily concerned with establishing or discerning morality. They are certainly related, but they are not the same. Something society tends to take for granted and wrongly assume is that legal and moral are synonymous.

    The court system is also not the real world. At the end of the process, if matters progress that far, the court room becomes the boxing ring wherein both sids use all the tools they can muster to the best of their ability to win. The court room is a procedural process that is a fight to the finish, and both sides fight to win. What happens there or what results there may not be moral, and at times, it may not even be legal. One representative faces another, and the one who is the best at the profession wins.

    My husband loves his part in the process as an expert witness, because he focuses on establishing truth empirically, then is called to court to explain the meaning of data (an elucidated scientific truth) to the court. He never contacts any of the attorneys to find out wins a case. He will often be grilled for four hours on the stand by an adversarial attorney who will then come up and ask for his card, asking if he would be available to consult with them on other cases. That is because the law is a business, almost like a game of strategy, that follows procedure. The courtroom is not there to directly arrive at a conclusion that is moral, though I think that it shines the brightest and does its best service to society when it does arrive at just and moral outcomes.

    That said, I think that things open up into moral issues if someone bills themselves as a Christian attorney fighting for justice (though that may not be moral in terms of the law, either). That may be a worthy discussion. I don’t know much at all about the individuals discussed here, but it seems perfectly plausible that Gibbs the younger could well be familiar with and subject to his own bounded choices and likely classifies as a “Second Generation Adult” himself. He might well be a good guy who is trying to work his way away from a very grey past that has been anything but black and white morally or legally. Or it might all just be business. Who knows? (Again, that is not a statement against Tina Anderson and other victims. Is is also not one of support for Phelps or predators or the system that uses spiritual authority to facilitate and cover abuse. Just search for Phelps on my blog.)

    My hope and fervent prayer for Lourdes is, in the courtroom, that Gibbs III is one of those attorneys who is better at the profession than the attorneys hired by Phillips. What Gibbs III does in the real world or what he has done in other cases is moot at this point anyway. (I wouldn’t have recommended Gibbs or hired him, but it wasn’t my choice.)


  29. While writing my tome, Julie Anne posted:

    One important thing to note that I was just discussing with a friend is that Gibbs III is a Second Generation Adult who lived in a strict IFB environment as a child. This is a difficult process to separate from that environment and there’s sometimes a one-step-forward-2-steps backward-type of thing going on. Boy, this stuff is messy.

    What she said!

    Consider this also. The IFB is huge on black and white thinking, from the Doctrine of Separation down to the every day legalism that you often find associated with it. They also follow a literal hermeneutic when interpreting Scripture, sticking with KJV only. It’s a very “easy” way of discernment, to the point that it’s classified as a primitive ego defense mechanism. Oversimplify then classify. You don’t have to chew on hard, disturbing moral problems. You can focus on the simplification and filing process which is not messy at all.

    What is so hard when getting out of these kinds of systems, particularly if you grew up in them? Few things in real life are simple and uncomplicated. Life is about color and hue. Controlled, constructed worlds are statically black and white. And we are all glorious messes of complicated contradictions as human beings anyway, just like Paul chews on in the Book of Romans.


  30. Cindy K: The law is quite infused with the “normative”, i.e . it is concerned with what “ought” to be. It is filled with judgments, morals, values. As a prosecutor, at least in my state, our obligation is to the truth. We are not to obtain a conviction by presenting false evidence or testimony. As far as a black/white dichotomy, we can only say that relative to the cause at issue, when I prosecute a case, the victim is truly a victim, while the defendant is the party who is at fault. That being said, in a spiritual sense even in a criminal case we are dealing with two sinners. But as to that particular case, one has transgressed the law and thus the sword is wielded against him.
    Prosecutorial discretion plays a large role in mitigating the harshness of certain laws when there are factors that support it. For example, I once had a case where tow old men were drinking and playing cards. They began to argue, and one stabbed the other in the leg. His sentencing guidelines called for a fairly lengthy sentence, but by the time the case came up on the docket, the two had reconciled. The victim just wanted his medical bill paid, and did not want his friend to be jailed.

    A difficult issue in cases of child abuse arises when the parents of the child are not supportive, or even actively discourage prosecution.

    As regards an attorney representing an odious defendant, I must say that even Dahmer deserved adequate representation. This is because the defense has a role in the protection of the constitution. When this is abdicated, eventually persons are falsely convicted.

    I encourage people to make informed decisions regarding whom to hire for legal matters.


  31. Keith,

    I didn’t mean to paint a picture that makes attorneys out to be immoral or that the goal of the legal system was not to seek justice (which is moral). Laws defend moral ideals by protecting rights. There is the other issue of trying to protect a client from being exploited under some Draconian law that is legal but perhaps not just.

    I’m just concerned about the mistaking the idea that what is legal is moral, and people often assume that this is the case. It’s often not that black and white. An obvious example of that discontinuity is the very pejorative example of abortion. It is legal but not moral. On the other end of that spectrum of example, consider the abused church congregant whose church tells them not to phone police when someone else has committed a felony against them. In the eyes of many churches, the moral thing to do is keep quiet, but the legal thing would call for the crime to be reported. In these abuse examples where victims are abused for involving law enforcement, the courts do work justice for them. And that justice can take us far in our healing by validating the victim, if nothing else.

    As in the case of James Roberts, one of the victims assoc with SGM and Morales, his case wasn’t heard at the discretion of the DA, but it was not because his case was without merit. (Some will bill it that way, just as the Gospel Coalition billed the cases that were rejected by the Maryland judge who excluded them because of the statute of limitations.) Legal isn’t moral. (I don’t think God has a statute of limitations on sins, particularly not on hurting children so profoundly.) My husband was angry when I told him about them dropping Roberts’ case, and he said, “Oh, so he won’t get justice.” He does get the general justice of seeing Morales go to prison, but he doesn’t get his own justice in full in this life.


  32. Cindy K Apropos experts in cases, the toughest ones to cross examine are those in the hard sciences. Typically they receive little cross examination, maybe just some questions regarding cross-contamination. That being said, I once attended a seminar where very compelling arguments were made regarding the reliability of ballistic evidence. The speaker even critiqued fingerprint analysis effectively. Juries tend to believe scientific experts, although there have been a couple of big scandals, one involving a state lab in the northeast.


  33. All of that said, I am grateful for attorneys who fight on behalf of their clients and the great advantage of being entitled to our day in court as Americans.

    I’m also grateful for all of the good men as well as the snakes and the sharks who have contended for their just clients, and for those who have contended ethically for the rights of the guilty. Maybe that’s part of the beauty of the system? Having an advocate is a beautiful, virtuous, wonderful thing. We have the ultimate Advocate in Christ.

    May God give justice and abundant life to the wounded and bruised and broken — and ultimately, that justice comes from Him. And sometimes, that comes through sundry times and diverse manners.


  34. Cindy K: I did not take your comment as implying the immorality of lawyers at all. Some are immoral, but I think the profession is wrongly stigmatized.

    It is inconceivable that a church would teach that the sexual abuse or rape of a child
    should not be reported to police. Why this would be tolerated, much less taught is beyond me. Would not theonomists say the perpetrator should be executed? I don’t know much about IFB, but any group that tolerates the sexual abuse of children is a satanic cult in my opinion.But I am just an old beer-swilling Lutheran which some baptists seem to think makes me an unbeliever.

    I have come across families who hide and thus enable sexual abuse. It just doesn’t make sense to me.


  35. I have said it before, but please indulge me….many of these guys have been influenced by Gothard. I would really like to know where Gothard derived his views.


  36. I just got off the phone with Gibbs III. When I get home from school, I’ll fill you all in. I did alert him to this thread so he can see what’s been going on.

    Ok, one more test today. I can do this. I can do this. Ack!


  37. Keith, my husband almost lost a job and left it because he was pressured to bend the truth, specifically regarding a poor ballistics technique. He also has lots of criticisms of the exploitation of DNA evidence (which he found boring in his 1 year tour in a crime lab masters program). His love is the intersection of pharmacology/physiology with analytical chemistry, primarily postmortem but also human performance (drugs and driving). He’s the guy that they grill for hours on the stand — usually much longer than they do with the MEs.


  38. Keith,

    I don’t know that there are any definitive connections, but it is clear that Gothard has a relationship with the IFB to some extent and also shares some of their doctrines. Both of them pull stuff from the Apocrypha concerning women being unclean to support some of the misogynist stuff.

    Some are taught that children who get molested, no matter their age, have the character or the soul of a prostitute and solicited abuse. The wife of the proprietor of Hephzibah House, a Lester Roloff type teen correctional home, said that she knew at age five that she could sexually entice men. This is thought to be the reason why Tina Anderson was called before her church by Chuck Phelps to confess that she’d become pregnant. She enticed her rapist, and Phelps continues to argue that it was a consensual relationship between an adult male and a 15 year old. The victim is cast as the first cause in the chain of events that leads to their own assault because they have the soul of a prostitute. Gothard has his own parallels to these teachings, including his doctrine of “Crying Out.” Any time you cry out, God will magically and mystically save you if you did it right and your heart was right. (Write to me if you want more info on all of that.)

    Gothard also used Bob Jones materials, but that could be argued as a weak point. The IFB has published the most Christian homeschooling material than any other publishers and that’s including the Seventh Day Adventists. I know that Jocelyn Zichterman draws strong connections between Gothard and the IFB, but I don’t know that the case for making that assertion is that strong.


  39. “Character and soul of a prostitute” the so-called “strange woman” doctrine? Truly nauseating. Hephizbah House is an institution I have heard of, but don’t know anything about it. If the woman was “enticing” men when she was five, they were clearly child molesters. I don’t know why she would shift the blame on to herself. Wow, there really are some creepy people out there claiming to be Christians.


  40. The lawyerly way to ask the question would be “Has there ever been a criminal or arrest record against you that was subsequently expunged, deleted, or otherwise removed, with or without your knowledge, encouragement, or participation?”

    Gotta love attorney-speak.


  41. Some are taught that children who get molested, no matter their age, have the character or the soul of a prostitute and solicited abuse.
    I believe it is Doug Wilson, or perhaps Tim Bayley, who state that sexual abuse victims are not entirely innocent and must repent of their own sins as well. It makes me sick to my stomach to think of victims being blamed.


  42. Julie Anne, Yes. We are on the same page. I hope for the best possible outcome for Lourdes.

    Outside of her lawsuit, should I hear of David Gibbs speaking in a church or providing materials that tell churches how to deal with child abuse or in general dealing with abuse outside the courtroom, I’m not convinced he deserves a “clean bill of health” if he isn’t willing to speak publicly for himself. Given his background, a written statement on his website shouldn’t be too difficult to manage.

    I read the other comments about second generation fundamentalist, etc. Every single person that leaves a high-control church or religious system that has cult-like tendencies has their own personal journey to make. Especially those that have had a public role that caused hurts to abuse survivors should not only expect repentance to be a part of their journey, but they should embrace repentance.


  43. However, a lawyer cannot ‘repent’ for having clients that they may later wish that they had not represented. They still have a duty to them and cannot speak negatively about them or violate confidentiality.


  44. David Gibbs III was arrested and booked. He had it all expunged.
    I find your bigotry interesting. You take David Gibbs III word and have him supply and recheck the information you post but openly refuse the same for David Gibbs Jr. “And why beholdest thou the mote that is thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thy eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.” Luke 6: 41-42 KJV


  45. Yes, I am providing a forum for Gibbs III to explain himself because he is the one representing Lourdes Torres-Manteufel and questions came up about him. I am not covering the Tina Anderson case or any case of his father’s.

    BTW, no one is stopping you from posting about Jr, but I will say this is the only thread where I will allow it because I find it to be a distraction to Lourdes’ case. There are other sites which cover that story and I’m sure they would welcome the comments.


  46. This morning, after seeing the direction the comments were going with regard to David Gibbs III’s involvement in the Tina Anderson case, I decided to shoot an e-mail to him so would be aware of the conversation.

    He responded by e-mail fairly quickly and then later we had a phone conversation. The gist of the conversation was he gave me the liberty to share what I thought would be best regarding what he sent me.

    As we discussed what was sent, I brought up what I thought to be the key issue that has been represented here by commenters – the issue of Gibbs III not having made things right with Tina Anderson. I asked Gibbs about being proactive in that regard and his response was good. In fact, his response showed what I believe to be one of the most important aspects of restitution – true respect for the victim.

    Brad Sargent recently sent out a set of tweets showing what appropriate restitution looks like and I wanted to share one of them because it applies to this situation:

    When Mr. Gibbs and I discussed the possibility of him connecting with Tina Anderson, he said he would feel “honored” to talk to her and added that he would like the opportunity to do so, but said he wanted it to be on her terms, not his. That is why he wasn’t proactively seeking her out.

    Commenters here have said what they’d like to see, but we don’t know if they speak for Tina and if those are her wishes. Perhaps any of the commenters who have a relationship with Tina can pass this along to her and she can contact David Gibbs directly, or I can certainly facilitate connecting both parties if that’s what Tina would like to do. She’s in the driver’s seat on this, as she – not we – should be.


  47. I appreciate the information regarding Gibbs, JA. Do you, or anyone else, know of any more updates in the Torres-Manteufel lawsuit?

    Also, I am looking at going back to school myself. Would you be okay with me emailing you? I am looking for advice/pointers.


  48. Marsha, I didn’t mean to imply that David Gibbs III should repent for accepting/representing a particular client. I would be thrilled to see him repudiate anything he had to do as a part of the CLA or said in church meetings (both publicly and privately including meeting with deacons in a non-attorney/client setting) that promoted following a CYA policy toward child abuse reporting in church settings like the article I linked to above (and again below).

    Churches that follow the advice of that CLA article published as recently as May 2012 (backup copy of article here: can create all kinds of problems for law enforcement in child abuse investigations. For instance, rerpetrators have the opportunity to destroy evidence or even flee and victims can have their testimony tainted by feeling pressured or shamed.

    Julie Anne, thanks for your kind offer. I will think about contacting David Gibbs III myself. I don’t know why that should be necessary. He should be able to release a public statement so everyone knows where he stands and what he regrets instead of having it be a matter of hearsay. This is a matter of trust for me personally. Why would he need others to do the speaking for him when he has a website where he can make his own statement?


  49. As a personal friend of Tina’s, why should she have to reach out for an apology owed her? Hasn’t it always been the duty of the party that caused offense to contact and ask for forgiveness from the wounded one? Even Scripture teaches we are to ask for forgiveness from the person or persons we’ve wronged. Thought I haven’t talked with her directly about this issue, I can guarantee (especially with all she’s dealing with in regard to her daughter’s health) she will not be the one taking the first step if David Gibbs III is truly seeking to change his ways.

    Had any of you been in there 3 years ago to hear the horrible things Chris and Daniel Leaf were telling Gibbs at the breakfast table, and heard his reply to them, I sincerely doubt there’d be a need for this thread. “You need to help the jury see the kind of person she (meaning Tina) really is”. “It’s up to you (meaning Chris) to bring to light how she (meaning Tina) has accused others before” etc. Statements like this are burned into my mind. The fact that he and his son took the seats Tina Anderson and her advocate were sitting in and had to be asked to vacate them by the District Attorney: then choosing to leave his son sitting next to the advocate until asked again to move by the DA speaks volumes about his true character.

    As a witness to these events, along with Laurie Moody, his treatment of Tina was reprehensible. He willingly represented those who participated in the cover up of the crimes against her in the first place, victimizing her further.
    Julie Anne removed links.


  50. Melanie, your response gives me an indication that you did not read the reason why Gibbs hasn’t reached out directly.

    It should be up to the victim (not anyone else, including those who support the victim) to decide whether or not she wants him to reach out to her. This is not for you or me to decide. This is for Tina to decide. If Tina sends word to me that she is ok with this, I will happily send the message to Gibbs III. Until such time, he is actually showing respect by allowing her to choose.

    Btw, there are a lot of people coming to the blog because of Tina’s case. As a victim’s advocate, I am inclined to only go along with Tina, unless she has designated someone to speak on her behalf. Even victims like Tina can be re victimized by others who use their voices and overpower the victim’s voice. Please be careful to not do that here.


  51. Hey all, I’m not going to approve any more links connected with old cases. If you have questions, go ahead and ask.

    Here’s the deal. There may in fact be some cases that Gibbs III has worked that you do not agree with. You may think he is a scumbag. Whatever. That’s your prerogative. But right now, he’s got the Lourdes Torres-Manteufel vs Doug Phillips case.

    Regardless of what you think of his past, he is our guy to defend a victim who needs 100% of our support. If Gibbs III is not who he has told me he is, the truth will come out eventually. But there is a chance that he is indeed a man who is not the same as his fundy upbringing.

    I, as a mother who once condoned Patriarchy and hurt my children with legalism and bad teachings, will cut him some slack and hope for the best. I am a changed person. How can we call ourselves Christian if we do not believe in saving grace and the power of the Holy Spirit which can work in our hearts to induce change?

    The case is well written. Lourdes deserves our support. Hopefully he will prove to us all that he is a true defender of victims.

    Liked by 1 person

  52. I truly agree that the truth needs to come to light. I can even understand wanting to promote someone for a cause.

    What I don’t agree with is the obvious bias and character assassination that has is seen here. You’re sounding like someone with a political agenda. I’m not saying you have one, but it sure sounds the same.


  53. It is against the ethical rules that apply to attorneys in general and to attorneys in Texas for Mr. Gibbs to contact someone on the other side, including the victim of his client, except in particular ways and circumstances. There are also confidentiality rules that he must observe.

    Another requirement of the rules is that an attorney must be diligent in using his skills and capabilities in representing the client to the fullest extent of the law. Sometimes there are differences in opinion about appropriate behavior when attorneys are attempting to diligently represent their clients.

    It does concern me that people overheard an attorney discussing with his client, in a public place over breakfast, the testimony to be presented in court. I prefer to have those conversations in private, due to the confidentiality provisions in the ethical rules.


  54. At one time a link and mug shot was posted on the old Fighting Fundamentalist Forum. It was shortly after that that it seemed father and son parted.



  55. Butterfly King,

    I read that thread at the FFF back in 2010. People commented that they thought he looked drunk — something about his eyes looking funny. The arrest was in Pinellas County which is right there by Seminole where his father’s CLA office is. The arrest was for battery/domestic. (You know, It only costs $75 to apply to have your record expunged.) His fans could argue that he was arrested for decking his dad. 😉

    But as Julie Anne has said, at this point, Lourdes has engaged him as her attorney. Whatever the case may be, I hope and pray that he is stellar in this case. It makes me think of what I tell people about surgeons. Some of the very best surgeons who do the very best work and whose patients have amazingly low complications have the WORST bedside manner. But what’s important to you when you’re in the OR is whether they can cut.


  56. Some of the very best surgeons who do the very best work and whose patients have amazingly low complications have the WORST bedside manner. But what’s important to you when you’re in the OR is whether they can cut.

    That’s a good quote. BTW, I continue to get e-mails of concern about Gibbs III. The choice belongs to Lourdes, not us. I’ve tried my best to clear up misinformation and aside from that, I am behind Gibbs III because he has taken on the enormous task of going against Phillips. The complaint is well written. He and his staff have a solid understanding of Patriarchy, of legalism, of Total Institution. My thoughts and prayers are with them all.


  57. Look at it this way. If Gibbs III does have a bad track record, he now has reached something of a turning point — whether he wants to be there or not. He’s made public statements distancing himself from if not repudiating his father, depending on how you look at it. Talk is cheap, but action proves what a person intends. Time will tell. He’s “raised the bar” for himself (ha, ha, ha), and now he’s got to demonstrate that he is who he says he is. I hope that the first powerful demonstration of the change involves winning Lourdes’ case.


  58. Here is an idea. If DGIII has truly changed his ways, he should go to work for G.R.A.C.E.


  59. Jeri at Blog on the Way has a post up about Gibbs III. She gives a good outline of some of his case history, and as far as those knowing and tracking the IFB’ers, Jeri is as good as they get.

    This is relevant:

    “Yes, Gibbs has landed at least one high profile case as the representative of a victim. But let’s not forget that the writing was on the wall: it’s now the victim civil cases that rake in big money for attorneys, not the abusive churches. The CLA made a nice living as the representatives for churches like FBCH. But since the famous Jerry Sandusky case, all institutions that have sheltered child molesters have been taking a beating in the media, in the courts, and in the public eye. And Fundamentalist churches are being hit hard. Second, this move puts the dad, David Gibbs Jr., on one side of the aisle, and the son, David Gibbs III, on the other. These men know the secrets of the churches they have represented for the last four decades of the CLA (though Gibbs III now has his own company), and soon they will gain access to the legal inside of victim’s representation against these churches. In spite of the fact that they are doing things legally in forming two different law agencies…


  60. Thanks for the info, BD. Very interesting.

    This is sure complicated and messy. Brad and I knew that when we saw people confusing cases that Gibbs III and Jr. were connected with which was why I went directly to Gibbs III for clarification.

    I guess at this point we will have to sit back and watch the ride. I just want a positive outcome for Lourdes and hope that Phillips never has the opportunity to be in a church leadership position again.


  61. Regarding the domestic case, the possible outcomes are guilty (cannot expunge), not guilty (may be able to expunge), or “DA chose not to take the case to trial (can expunge). So what you have is a tremendous range of domestic violence crimes (everything from yelling at a SO to murder, really) and the fact that there isn’t sufficient evidence to convict. You can’t really judge the man’s character on this one.

    Regarding the case Gibbs III has taken, I can’t comment on the facts except that they appear “truthy” and plausible in light of DP’s confession. I pray of course for justice in this case, whatever that may be, and regarding Gibbs’ handling of the case, he’s filed it and then he….has been, as have the Manteufels as far as can tell, silent. He’s not trying the case in the media.

    In other words, he’s doing everything right. Biblically, it seems to center around the proposition that the man who seduces a woman must pay the bride-price (Exodus 22:16) whether or not her father allows her to marry him.


  62. Regarding whether it’s scummy to defend someone accused of horrific crimes: if you deny representation to the accused, you deny the rights of the accused. Now if you happen to become one of the accused–whether rightly or wrongly (e.g. Duke Lacrosse/Mike Nifong)–and all of the lawyers refuse to do defense work, where does that leave you?

    The Bible defends the rights of the accused for a reason.


  63. FWIW, IWBH if people stopped using so many abbreviations IMO. Makes it VHTR when some of us try to make sense of WTH U R saying. JS. OK? TY.


  64. David Gibbs III is Ergun Caner’s attorney who asked that my wife, my children (then 4,5,6) and myself all sign non-disparagements in exchange for a settlement. He also told the judge that Ergun fired me even though I never worked for him. He now is saying that Ergun had no prior knowledge of me even though he threw a baby shower for my firstborn.


  65. According to the article linked below, David Gibbs III represented the abusive Roloff homes, but chose not to disclose that when he testified in support of a Texas bill allowing “faith-based child-care facilities to opt out of state licensure.”

    “Aware of Roloff’s reputation, Gibbs III says he decided not to risk revealing his firm’s association with the homes.” ABA Journal, August 2001, page 48


  66. One more thing, it seems that David Gibbs III, is the attorney representing the Suarez Family from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Again, not reason to post, just wanted to share.


  67. Thank you, K, for that information. I’ve had several people e-mailing me about other cases that Gibbs III has been involved in. The chart in this post represents solely what Gibbs III gave me to clear up confusion. After posting the chart, I was not as confused. I can’t say that anymore.


  68. Glad I found this website. I actually gave a small amount of money to CLA as Gibbs Jr, and Gibbs III frequently were guest preachers at my church in Florida. It makes me sick that I gave them money, but at least I know the truth now.


  69. You are some of wackiest no good for nothing lazy people out someday it will all come home and you will experience hell like you won’t believe it.


  70. Perhaps this comment is inappropriate here, or maybe it is just my need to clarify a point. Bill gothard did not get a doctorate the hard way, earning it. He received an honorary degree and flaunts it every chance he gets. He was awarded the “doctorate”based on his reputation at the time, as the author of the Wisdom books and such. The truth is those books and all articles with his name on them, were written by employees, volunteers and students who were in “ministry”. There is very little original writing from bg. Here again, he is a fraud, receiving a “doctorate” to elevate his status, on the back of those he betrayed, abused and deceived. He is a snake salesman and many of us bought it up at great sacrifice and loss, because we desired to raise Godly children, and the 7 steps to this and that spelled it out succinctly. The idea that bg flaunts his phony “doctorate” on the backs of all those he used is hard to take. Especially since he forbid our children to pursue college educations.

    Liked by 1 person

  71. Your comment is very appropriate, Deb. As a current college student who does her own work and loses sleep and stresses about upcoming assignments and tests, knowing this about him makes me sick.


  72. I was horrified when David Gibbs III was originally announced to be representing the plaintiffs. I have been concerned given his background that he was not to be trusted, now I know my concerns were warranted. My heart breaks for those who are being re-victimized by Gibbs.

    Just because Gothard is a con artist, doesn’t mean Gibbs is trustworthy. He’s a con artist too as far as I’m concerned. These plaintiffs deserve better.


  73. Gibbs III is a liar and a fraud. He still deserves his title as ‘The Fixer’. He has always sided with abusers and continues to show his affection for sick fundamentalism and the abuse it inspires to this day. Homeschoolers Anonymous did an amazing job in putting this article together. I hope that he loses his license to practice law and put an end to his ‘fixing’ days. I don’t know what the latest is regarding Lordes’ case but I am very concerned for her as well.




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