Monday, December 17, 2012

Volunteer Barred From Working With Diocese Youth Sues For Defamation

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports on a defamation lawsuit filed in state court last week against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth and various Diocese officials by Joseph Jordan who was barred from serving as a volunteer with children or young people in any Diocese parish or school.  The complaint (full text) in Jordan v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, (TX Dist. Ct., filed 12/10/2012), alleges that Jordan and his wife have worked with youth in Catholic activities for over 20 years.  Jordan was also active with the Knights of Columbus. In July 2012, Jordan was summoned to the office of the Diocese Vicar General and read him a letter accusing him of "boundary violations" involving youth and young adults in the last few weeks. He was summarily barred from further serving as a volunteer, and the accusatory letter and an e-mail memorandum were published and circulated widely throughout the Diocese. The complaint alleges:
The language in these letters and emails individually and in combination created a false  and defamatory meaning or impression, either by omitting material facts or misleadingly juxtaposing events.  They were intended to  distort the  reader's  perception and they created  a substantially false  impression of Plaintiff....  Clearly,  an  ordinary reader would interpret the defamatory  communications ... as accusations of Plaintiff being a child molester and/or pedophile and/or sexual  abuser,  particularly when  considered  along  with  the  circumstance  of the  Fort  Worth Diocese being the subject of numerous lawsuits and enormous publicity arising from allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and cover-ups by the leaders of the Diocese....