Friday, May 01, 2009

Blogger Sues Police Over Revelation of Identity To Church

ABP reported yesterday on a lawsuit filed against Jacksonville, Florida police and state prosecutors by a blogger whose identity was revealed to his church by defendants who opened a criminal investigation into the blog at the request of church leaders. As explained in an earlier ABP story, Tom Rich began an anonymous blog in 2007 on which he raised concerns about Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville. Police officer Robert Hinson, who is also on Pastor Brunson's security detail, opened an investigation in order to be able to subpoena Google and Comcast to discover the owner of the blog. After Hinson told church officials that the blogger was Tom Rich, the church issued trespass warnings against Rich and his wife, barring them from church premises. Rich's lawsuit seeks damages exceeding $15,000 for alleged violations of his 1st Amendment speech and free exercise rights and for violation of the Establishment Clause.