Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Litigation Blues

I write this topic with no small reservation. Citing Biblical precedent, some have criticized me for engaging another Friend in secular court. For that I say that the man opposing me feels no similar regret. We are two sinner together.

This story may be little more than a curiosity to an audience. During my first retelling of this current event, what happened was the subject of a QuakerQuaker post that accumulated nearly 1,000 hits before the decision was made to take it down. In short, I have sued members of my Healing and Reconciliation and plan to fully litigate the case. Why write this down and present it before you? Because I think it's worthwhile for us to contemplate as a Society if legal action were ever a reality in our own Meetings.

Why does this matter? It matters for lots of reasons. It matters because anytime women accuse men of being scary and stating that they are afraid of them, we are often inclined to blame the supposedly wronged from the accused. My case is quite different. In seven years of membership, no charges were filed, neither civil or criminal. No sexual harassment occurred. No inappropriate touching occurred. No restraining orders were filed.

Instead, I have no way of knowing what I said to these women in these e-mails. I know no names. I have not been told what I have done. I must have deleted them at the time from my Gmail account. Though I have pleaded for information, it has been denied. Instead I have silence. I filed suit to protect myself legally, as legal proceeding these damning can be career-destroying, to say nothing else. So I may be safe there, but still I am not privy to the information rightfully mine.

I have few details upon which to make on my behalf, but I will at least make a guess. I think these women thought I was crazy. Being that I had yet to go through sufficient therapy, this would make the most sense. It doesn't make it less painful, but it explains my situation. I never wanted to be the crazy guy, never wanted to be the token bipolar. I never wanted to be the product of anyone's pity.

I refuse to slander my accusers. But I do want Friends to recognize what can be done in situations like these. I was not aware of these allegations for five, nearly six years. By that point, the statue of limitation had expired and the women who had been spooked were unlikely to return. It didn't stop a member of Healing and Reconciliation from calling me "seriously threatening" in a listserve e-mail while imploring people at the same time to return to Meeting. It was a clumsy endeavor that managed to simultaneously create the possibility for identity theft, violate the right of those with rape shield laws to have protection against their accusers, and broach privacy.

Mostly I write to inform you to resolve situations differently. Get in front of the issue. Don't stick a problem inside a committee for five years. And then when it comes time to share information, do it. The way my former Meeting is doing it makes it seems as though they have something to hide. It does not come across the opposite, which they may intend.

I have been pursuing legal means for the past two weeks, but I cannot do this alone. Regardless of whether or not I win a legal settlement or a letter of apology, I request your help to publicize this situation, if you wish. Litigation is enormously expensive and time consuming. I expect this trial to last 1-2 years, which is an obscene amount of money to pay in order to expend to clear one's name, but I am willing to do it. I'm not seriously sure what my former Meeting will do. but I don't want to take a single chance

My e-mail address is cabaretic (at) gmail (dot) com  I'm not asking for money. I don't want any possessions of yours. What I do want is the right to continue to fight to clear my name in a system that is stacked against me from the beginning. Advice is much appreciated. Anecdotes of similar accounts are also appreciated. But the more that this becomes a story, the easier this situation is for me. If you want to know about some free legal advice regarding houses of worship, I can provide easily.

Thank you for your help.

1 comment:

  1. Have you considered mediation? It is usually much less expensive than litigation and is considered by many to be more effective than litigation at keeping relationships intact. It also fits better into Friends' traditional ideas about Gospel order.