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MK forum • View topic - Legal Options

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 Post subject: Legal Options
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:26 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Legal Options
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:58 pm 
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In March 2008, a lawsuit was filed against Chiquita Brands International by the families of five missionaries slain in Columbia. According to the Orlando Sentinel, "All five were missionaries with Sanford-based New Tribes Mission, which also joined in the suit." [http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2008-03-15/news/newtribes15_1_chiquita-colombia-missionaries]

In February 2010, progress was made when a federal judge turned down Chiquita's motion to dismiss the suit. CNN reported, "The judge's ruling means the case can go to the discovery phase, in which each party can obtain documents and evidence from the other side." [http://articles.cnn.com/2010-02-12/world/colombia.chiquita.farc_1_farc-abducted-chiquita-brands-international?_s=PM:WORLD]

That is two years to get from the filing step to the discovery step. There are a lot of bananas at stake here, and no one is going to roll over any time soon. Set your "google alert" preferences now and settle in for a long haul. Our friend and colleague O. Thornery, Esq. has already painted a pretty accurate picture of how long this sort of thing can be drawn out.

Both the Banana Suit and the hypothetical example by O. Thornery, Esq. are civil suits, not criminal suits. There is a difference between civil and criminal actions, a quick explanation of which can be found here: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100225101751AAFmdw1 It should be added that criminal suits usually carry with them the possibility of imprisonment and/ or fines, but not an award of monetary damages to the victim or his/ her kin. Civil suits are generally about "recovering damages" ("suing the pants off them," in the vernacular), where there is a monetary award. (Thornery, please correct me if I am right.)

On a couple of occasions, I have contacted attorneys in the United States regarding taking civil action against a certain corporation that defamed me. Even with a strong case, it is almost impossible to win, they advised me. One told of a case he had just settled, out of court, where his client and the defendant had both spent over $30,000 over a period of a couple of years and the case had not even gone to trial yet. I think the defendant ended up apologizing without admitting guilt, but promising to exercise more discretion in future remarks. Sound familiar? This may serve as a good illustration of the difference between "satisfaction" and "settlement."

Face it: It takes deep pockets to sue the pants off someone, whether for defamation or other civil offenses. In fact, you may lose your shirt before they lose their pants. See again the sad saga of the Banana Suit. For most of us, under most circumstances, civil suits in the United States are not going to provide justice.


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 Post subject: Re: Legal Options
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:51 am 
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So the answer is quite before you begin?? hmmm not in my books. I would rather lose all I have and know I went for it. Just me.


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 Post subject: Re: Legal Options
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:35 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Legal Options
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:19 pm 
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Can we get pedophile tattooed on their foreheads? That is, the ones who are guilty of that. -- What I want to know, isn't it required to report a pedophile?


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 Post subject: Re: Legal Options
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:40 pm 
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Once again, I am not a lawyer, but it is my understanding that (in the state of Washington) several classes of people (such as teachers, day care workers, and health care workers) are required to report suspected child abuse, but that a criminal conviction of a sexual nature is required before someone is labeled as a sex offender and required to register.


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 Post subject: Re: Legal Options
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:42 pm 
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That being said, I am going to recommend to NTM that they openly and publicly identify the abusers and the organizations that they are working with.


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 Post subject: Re: Legal Options
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:57 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Legal Options
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:42 pm 
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Folks, with all due respect to above attorney, let's consider the following (I am discussing U.S. civil suits only...there are likely even more problems with criminal suits)

Statute of Limitations: There may be statutes of limitations which, even if a cause of action is merited, may disallow the filing of suit after a certain period of time after the action giving rise to the cause of action occurs. There are often exceptions to these statutes that may or may not apply (i.e., the clock may not start until the discovery of the injury or the discovery of the perpetrator of the injuries).

Jurisdictional Issues: Is anybody aware of any law of any state, or any federal law which would give a court within the United States the jurisdiction to adjudicate a lawsuit regarding actions taken and injuries received outside of the United States.

Burden of Proof Issues: I'm assuming the burden of proof that the plaintiff in any suit must meet would be the preponderence of the evidence (i.e., more likely than not/greater than 50% chance). Whereas that burden would not seem to hard to meet, most of the evidence regarding these actions are one person's words against another. Much of the evidence would be barred due to the hearsay rules.

Now, having said all of that, to the extent that there has been more recent abuse, which took place at a location in which the desired court has competent jurisdiction, and where the statute of limitations has not lapsed, by all means, a suit could easily be brought. But, the cost/time/effort/likelihood of success must all be weighed. But, this is why we have courts and juries. Given the right facts, I would file the complaint.

In addition, for more recent sexual crimes against minors committed even overseas, there are relatively recent U.S. criminal statutes that allow the prosecution of those crimes here in the U.S., given the correct facts. You still may have statute of limitations issues and possible burden of proof issues (standard much higher in a criminal case), and issues finding a prosecutor willing to take on the case, especially where the witnesses and evidence is scatterred around the globe.

The facts are, that in most of these cases from years ago, there is little likelihood of receiving a just result in court.

What really needs to be done is what is being done. This case is being tried in the court of public opinion and the public is exerting pressure where it needs to be applied. We are demanding changes. We are demanding apologies. We are demanding people be fired. We are demanding compensation, even though it could never be enough. We are raising hell...and finally, finally, action is being taken, things that should be recognized are being recognized. To NTM, there is bath water and there are babies. The bath water must be thrown out. To the extent that a few babies must go with the bathwater to ensure that the bathwater is gone, well, enough said.

I am highly confident that within the next few years, NTM will dissolve. Any assets it has remaining will be contributed to a new organization with a new name, with a new methodology and a new attitude. They had better get it right this time.

To the supporters of NTM who have given their hard earned money over the years, I apologize in many cases for the lack of return you have received on your money. Not only did some of your money assist the criminals in their crimes, your money is now going to investigate the crimes and compensate the victims.

To all of the other missionaries, leaders or not, who were around at that time, consider what part you may have played in these crimes, indirectly, if not directly. As a kid, I was aware of abuse that had taken place in some of the countries mentioned. I can only assume that some of you knew alot more than I knew. I did not see nearly enough action to ensure this type of thing did not occur. I did not see nearly enough hell raised. Let's not all blame our inaction on the inaction of leaders. The leaders were cut from the same cloth as the rest of the rank and file. The leaders were themselves victims of those who had gone before them.

To the victims of these crimes and other evil acts, I apologize that I myself, even though a mere MK, did not do enough to protect you. I'm not sure what I could have done, but I could have done more. When I became an adult, I could have raised some serious hell like some of you started doing on this blog. I did not, and I apologize for that. But, I stand with you now. Keep the good fight, and stick to the methods that will bring about true results and change.


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 Post subject: Re: Legal Options
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:15 am 
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