Edwina Rogers Dismisses Claims in Her Lawsuit Against Richard Dawkins and Atheist Lobbying Group

There’s finally resolution in a lawsuit involving some of the leaders of multiple atheist organizations.

Last May, Edwina Rogers (below) sued the Secular Coalition for America, her former employer, alleging that SCA leaders wrongfully terminated her and then made defamatory statements about her to the press. They were motivated, the document said, by “petty jealousies and naked ambition.”

Rogers also said that SCA President (at the time) Amanda Metskas and/or SCA Education Fund Treasurer Roy Speckhardt (of the American Humanist Association) found a way to leak information to New York Times reporters in order to get ahead of the story:

In order to assure that Plaintiff would not be given reasonable notice or any opportunity to defend herself, upon information and belief, Metskas and/or Speckhardt leaked, or caused to be leaked, Plaintiff’s termination to the New York Times, even prior to the notification to Ms. Rogers of her termination.

Upon information and belief, Metskas and/or Speckhardt intended that the New York Times report Plaintiff had embezzled funds or was otherwise responsible for the embezzlement owing to the false assumption that the Executive Director would be ultimately responsible for any financial oversight. Ms. Rogers did not have financial responsibility in her capacity as Executive Director at that time.

In addition, Rogers said that Metskas — who allegedly “envied Plaintiff” — wanted the higher salary that came with Rogers’ position and that Speckhardt had ulterior motives:

[By replacing Rogers with Metskas,] Speckhardt would be able to diminish the lobbying portfolio of SCA and thereby increase and enhance his own organization’s lobbying visibility within the secular community. Additionally, Speckhardt would not be held accountable for his lack of financial oversight that permitted the embezzlement to incur and continue.

There were more details to her lawsuit, but those were the major claims. Rogers was asking for $750,000 in compensatory damages, additional punitive and exemplary damages, and appropriate legal fees.

An amended version of Rogers’ lawsuit also included charges against Richard Dawkins — that he was taking money from his own foundation and enlisting his allies in retaliation against her.

The Secular Coalition for America and Metskas soon filed an official motion to dismiss these claims in their entirety. A lawyer for Speckhardt also filed a separate motion to dismiss. And Dawkins, too, denied all of this.

So what’s the resolution?

Earlier this month, the plan was that all the relevant parties were going to physically meet in court on Friday (yesterday) to hash this out.

That never happened.

Instead, Rogers chose to end her lawsuit voluntarily before that encounter could take place:

Plaintiff Edwina Rogers and Defendants Amanda Metskas and Secular Coalition for America, Inc., (“SCA”) stipulate to dismissal of her claims against SCA and Ms. Metskas.

Plaintiff Edwina Rogers voluntarily dismisses her claims against Defendants Secular Coalition for America Education Fund, Inc., Greg R. Langer, Roy Speckhardt, and Richard Dawkins.

So just like that, it’s over. The case is closed. Some reputations may be in tatters, but there’s no substance behind any of it.

There’s no elaboration on why Rogers dismissed her claims… and it’d be pretty foolish to speculate without more information.

I reached out to her to see if she had any further comment, and she sent me this brief message:

“The Parties have mutually agreed to put their dispute behind them for the good of the secular community and to move forward with the community’s work.”

I’m glad to hear it. That being said, this resolution means that any and all claims of wrongdoing by the SCA, Dawkins, or the atheist group leaders carry no weight at all. The charges against them have been taken back by the person who made them, and as far as the courts are concerned, that means we’re back to square one, as if the lawsuit had never been filed in the first place.

***Update*** (3/14): Greg Langer issued this statement:

Edwina Rogers’ dismissal of me from her lawsuit against SCA was unilateral. I refused to settle with or release her because I had told the truth. Neither I, nor the insurance companies covering me, paid a penny to Rogers. I regret engaging with her and her supporters in an effort to help my friends and the “movement,” and then to protect my reputation from her extensive personal attacks against me and my wife.

Regarding her baseless libel claims against me, a very prominent and highly respected member of the secular “movement” told me (i) that he was prepared to provide an affidavit stating that Rogers’ told him virtually the same thing she told me about Richard (as stated in Rogers’ lawsuit) and (ii) that he told Richard (in person) that he would provide such an affidavit to the court.

Even after learning the truth, Richard has refused to retract his wrongful and hurtful accusations about me, despite the enormous amount of time I spent as a volunteer trustee and his numerous emails thanking me for my help during and after I resigned as a trustee.

(Large portions of this article were posted earlier)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.