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Libel & Slander, long but I need your help.

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L

libelquestions

Guest
What is the name of your state? Illinois.

Hi and thanks for responding. :)

Ok, Here goes. Last Spring we were given two choices for tuition. A Tithing model or paying the highest tuition in the area at a private school.

We objected to the tithing model at meetings and asked for clarifications as to why it was chosen. Never Resolved. People assumed we did it because we were objecting to the higher tithing amounts. In fact, it would have cost my family less.

Eventually we chose the tithing model for our family and advised them that we would tithe a specific amount, and would reduce that amount if any other fees were levied, since they told us no other fees would be due if tithing was chosen. We were told that only two people would be aware of the amount.

We then were denied as a tithing family, and we decided that we would not return in the Fall. This was communicated in June. In the same letter, we received a response that said if we made it public that we were denied a tithing family, that the record of our financial commitment would be made available to the school board, and various church committees.

After that letter, we advised them we would not return.

In August, a person at the school board meeting asked why certain families were denied tithing.

A response was given that "I know the family you are talking about and you don't know all the facts"

We have since learned that there was a school board meeting that our letter disclosing our financials was disclosed at, people were told that we lied about our income. We did not. And I even had a client call me asking about my financials in a suspicious way. I doged and did not answer, nor Have I disclosed my income to anyone.

There are numerous rumors going around, and I am looking for advice. We did not lie. There were also impromptu surveys done of people in my profession, as to what people in my career make.

We found out about this through numerous phone calls advising us of the rumors, and what took place in the board meeting.

Remember, We have not had enrolled students since June, and these events took place at meetings held in August and September.

Q1- If we were advised in writing that our amounts would be kept between 2 people, can they share it if someone finds out we are not a tithing family, and that is why we did not return. We never agreed to any letter stating we had to keep it private. They Threatened us. Can they threaten to show our financials, call into question our integrity, make public something they said in writing and meetings that they would keep confidential. I also marked the letter confidential to the two they said it should go to. Can I disclose to others that we left because we were denied as a tithing family, and still expect privacy on their part?

Q2- What should my possible recourse be in this matter to regain our good name, and restore our integrity. They say we lied, we have documentation shown to no one yet that we told the truth as to financials.

Q3- We dropped this matter and never persued it after we were denied tithing, and it was brought up even though our children do not attend the school. They attend Public School.

Q4- We were never contacted for verification of amounts, either by phone or in writing.

Note: The letter of denial was sent and postmarked the same day a letter to the editor appeared in a newspaper. We did not write the letter, nor were we aware of the letter prior to submission. Coincidental, maybe. Irrelevant, who knows.

I apologize for the long rant, as my wife and I are pretty confused as to what our next step should be.

Thank You in Advance, :)
libelquestions
 


L

libelquestions

Guest
Illinois...

Hi Thanks for responding.

There was an anonymous letter questioning stewardship in general as it was being applied in the parish. It was general in nature, but alluded to the unhappiness of the 295 school families, and those in the Church unhappy with the forced financial model.

There was a parent meeting in March in which about 300 people showed up with their disagreement with the forced model.

We submitted our financial amount in May, under the tithing model, then in Late June (About 3 1/2 weeks later), someone posted the comment and it appeared in the paper. Why were we not denied shortly after we sent in the amount and I just thought it odd that the denial letter was dated the same day as the paper comment.

The letter we received was dated, and postmarked the same day that the paper was published. I have both.

I should add that subsequent to the paper, I was advised by the person who wrote the comment.

Thanks,
libelquestions
 
Last edited:
V

Votan

Guest
libelquestions said:
Illinois...

Hi Thanks for responding.

There was an anonymous letter questioning stewardship in general as it was being applied in the parish. It was general in nature, but alluded to the unhappiness of the 295 school families, and those in the Church unhappy with the forced financial model.

There was a parent meeting in March in which about 300 people showed up with their disagreement with the forced model.

We submitted our financial amount in May, under the tithing model, then in Late June (About 3 1/2 weeks later), someone posted the comment and it appeared in the paper. Why were we not denied shortly after we sent in the amount and I just thought it odd that the denial letter was dated the same day as the paper comment.

The letter we received was dated, and postmarked the same day that the paper was published. I have both.

I should add that subsequent to the paper, I was advised by the person who wrote the comment.

Thanks,
libelquestions
Now lets see, you were advised by the person who wrote the comment, in the paper I presume.

Can that person show you a copy of the original transcript he sent to the paper?

Can he prove that he did wrote and submitted that comment to the paper?

Can he tell you why he did send the comment to the paper?

Did he send the comment on his own initiative or someone instructed him to do so?

You see that these are only a sample of arrays of questions that you need to clarify with sufficient accuracy, without necessarily revealing the names of the individuals, name them X, Y, and Z. Give specifics and dates as accurately as possible.

What you need to focus at, if you decide to make a lawsuite based on libel and slander, you should specify the first person who uttered the slander, and the one who authored the libel and distributed it, the dates of first occurence of each, then, depending on the statute of your state, the ones who repeated the same slander and libel (they could be liable too).
 
L

libelquestions

Guest
Q -Can that person show you a copy of the original transcript he sent to the paper?
A- It is an anonymous phone call to the paper. It could probably be proved with a phone company list of the number dialed.

Q-Can he prove that he did wrote and submitted that comment to the paper?
A- Only by showing that they called the number. I think it is an answering machine, so who knows if the paper archives those tapes or not. Thanks for asking as I will write that possibility down too.

Q-Can he tell you why he did send the comment to the paper?
A- They were upset with what was happening. There were a couple signed letters to the editor as well, but we did not send them, and we had turned down that opportunity. We thought it was over after we sent our kids to public school. Incidentally, about 40 families left in total out of the almost 300. We were not the only family that left.


Q-Did he send the comment on his own initiative or someone instructed him to do so?
A- As it is an open phone line, they probably did it pout of emotion. This particular family was vocal and upset at the process. I don't believe they were instructed, but like I said, here is the best I remember it. I have the copy at home.

"With everything going on in the church today with the bishops, they should come here to see hat is happening in this parish with regards to stewardship...etc...." It was very general in nature.

You Also Said:
"What you need to focus at, if you decide to make a lawsuite based on libel and slander, you should specify the first person who uttered the slander, and the one who authored the libel and distributed it, the dates of first occurence of each, then, depending on the statute of your state, the ones who repeated the same slander and libel (they could be liable too)."

That is what I am in the process of doing right now. What it comes down to is this. We have a ton of friends there that care deeply about us. There are some participating in trying to change that by affecting our reputation.

I do know there has already been damage done, both emotionally, and with reputation. My children still attend Religious Education there, and we are still involved in many ancillary groups, that use space but are not part of the ministry of the church.

Regards,
libelquestions
 
V

Votan

Guest
I am not aware of a paper that publishes a letter to the editor without requesting the full name, residence address and telephone number of the author of the letter. They DO call the author for identification. Even if the letter is published signed by anonymous individual, they must have on their record the identity of the author. The other possibility is that one of paper staff did this dirty game and published the paper unsigned. In that case the paper is liable for the libel. This activity is outside the scope of journalism, particularly you are not public figure.

Anonymous telephone call is a tip for you to conduct your search for the truth. It is not admissible as evidence in the court.

Do a favor to yourself. Arrange to tape your telephone conversations with these guys and think about the legality of this later when it comes time to use it.
 
L

libelquestions

Guest
Anyone else care to comment

The line in the paper is irrelevant, and really has nothing to do with the question. It only raises my own thoughts on the possibility that someone thinks we called in the comment.

The crux of this is the original post and my follow up.

Any other thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks Again,
libelquestions
 
L

libelquestions

Guest
bump

bump,

We have a meeting next week with someone very high up in the church, but not the parish we attend.

Any Advice would be appreciated.

Thanks,
libelquestions
 

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