Last October, ten women filed a negligence lawsuit against the Institute for Basic Life Principles (IBLP), a fundamentalist Christian organization that put on conferences for families, produced Christian-based homeschool curriculum, and often employed the teenage children of its followers. In January this lawsuit was amended to also name Bill Gothard, IBLP’s founder and president until his resignation in March 2014 amid accusations that he had sexually harassed and molested dozens of teenage girls in his employ over the course of over three decades.
This week the lawsuit was amended to include eight additional plaintiffs, bringing the total number of women named up to 18. Dozens more women have also accused Gothard of sexual harassment and molestation. Two of the new plaintiffs spoke with the New York Daily News for an article published earlier today.
Joy Simmons and Jennifer Spurlock are two of the many men and women who have made the horrifying accusations against Bill Gothard, who ran Institute in Basic Life Principles, saying they were deprived of an education, forced to work and were groped by the Christian leader.
“To have your education ripped from you and to have your childhood ripped from you, it’s extremely difficult. It’s just evil,” Spurlock, who spent three years as a minor at one of Gothard’s training centers, told the Daily News.
The article quoted from the women’s attorney, the lawsuit text, and Gothard’s attorney. Roughly an hour ago Recovering Grace, the whistleblowing website run by graduates of Gothard’s program that where the allegations of sexual misconduct against Bill Gothard were first featured, published this on their Facebook page:
Dear friends, we wanted to share with you the following letter that was forwarded to Recovering Grace by the law firm representing the plaintiffs suing Bill Gothard and IBLP. While every story that we have ever published was with the knowledge that we might one day have to defend our decisions in a court of law, it is nonetheless disturbing to see these threats in print. Your continued prayers are appreciated.
Counsel — It is unfortunate that Plaintiffs’ attorneys feel the need to circulate these pleadings to the press. Just remember this once the Court rules on the pending motions to disqualify.
Also, demand is hereby made upon any and all of your clients that have posted false and defamatory statements on the Recovering Grace website to immediately remove them.
Those persons can anticipate a counter-claim or cross-claim against them, in conjunction with the principals behind that website, for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress seeking actual and punitive damages in an amount in excess of $1,000,000 (with such an award after expenses be payable to an appropriate not for profit organization) along with such other injunctive and equitable relief the Court deems just.
Every day those postings remain in the public domain undoubtedly will enhance the damages recovery.
Gaffney & Gaffney PC
1771 Bloomingdale Rd.
Glendale Heights, Il 60139
Homeschoolers Anonymous captured a screenshot of the post:
People often ask why victims don’t speak up, or act to take down their abusers. When speaking up can lead to $1,000,000 lawsuits leveled against you by wealthy and powerful religious leaders—note that Gothard has the ear of numerous politicians—we really need to stop asking this question.