THE PURPOSE OF THIS WEBSITE
In April of 2001, the National Post carried a prominent article telling and insinuating numerous extreme and harmful falsehoods against me and a volunteer group with whom I was working to help individuals in need. (The Equitable Child Maintenance and Access Society--"ECMAS".) Various appeals to them to retract the falsehoods fell on deaf ears. So in July I filed a lawsuit against The Post, the reporter Donna Laframboise, and their parent company Canwest Global. Given their refusal even to let our side be heard, it was my only hope of restoring our good names. Having thus displayed my determination to fight, I let them know repeatedly through counsel that I would settle the suit without money damages, if they would just publicly tell the truth. Instead, for eight years they used their money and powerful law firms in what I see as an uncaring and unprincipled effort to grind us down.
When that failed to work and a trial date was finally set, they tried to get me to settle out of court by offering me a large amount of money. I refused it, seeing restoring our names and the work that my associates and I had been doing as all that really matters. Then, the trial judge decided to delay the trial until Canada's Supreme Court would hand down its latest defamation-law decision--something that would not happen for six months and possibly much longer. And at that point in time (February 2009), there had begun to be frequent warnings in the news that Canwest Global might soon be going into bankruptcy protection. So ECMAS and I were faced with the frightening prospect of my court-process being ended--and hence of never being able to clear our names. I then told their lawyers I would accept the money if they would also give me a retraction--and would agree to release all of the lawsuit documents for me to publicize, something that is not normally possible unless the documents are allowed to be entered in evidence at trial.
Despite knowing that I intended to post the documents on the Web together with the damning account of their behavior here, they decided to do that rather than proceeding to trial. However, assuming that they had enough professional integrity to present at least the settlement of the suit as the news that it was, I did not push hard in negotitions for Canwest to do any such publicizing. That company and its newspapers have since made clear that they do not intend to do so. I can only hope that other Canadians, especially journalists, care enough about truth and journalistic ethics to tell others of the shocking facts presented here. [Public Flyer]
Introduction to these lawsuit materials
This website contains all important unfiled documents, and central filed ones, of my defamation suit against the National Post, its parent company Canwest Global and the reporter who defamed me. Those items are accompanied by a comprehensive essay ("My Case"), which is hyperlinked below and alphabetically listed in the site's document-index (also linked below). That main essay is linked to most of the other files, in order to document the numerous claims of fact it makes. (Note well: they themselves, not ECMAS or I, were the source of nearly all the lawsuit documents proving their gross wrongdoing.) Also included, so readers can see everything that the other side claimed against me in their counter-suit, are their examination-for-discovery of me (with undertakings) and their filed pleadings.
My original reason for writing the (unimaginatively titled) "My Case" was to guide my lawyers through the complex history of events. There are many scores of important issues and sub-issues in the case. Then it became clear that the great number and length of the documents in this suit made locating the proof for that complex history's details very hard to do. In addition to the usual legal filings and transcripts from the examinations for discovery, there are dozens of e-mails, a dozen transcripts of tape-recorded conversations, numerous published articles and a variety of other items. And the evidence regarding a majority of the issues in the case is scattered across multiple documents.Thus, it became clear that only a lengthy and carefully organized account could make the story fully clear--and that only the miracle of electronically linked documents (some 200+ hyperlinks, many with sub-links) could tie the scattered evidence to the appropriate parts of the account without much getting lost in the welter.
In the course of this lengthy lawsuit, I put the result of that labor to another use: presenting it in various versions (on a CD) to the other side, hoping that it might help them see more clearly the extent of their wrongdoing and convince them to correct it. As indicated above, they ignored all my pleas for honesty until trial was fast approaching. Our little group cannot recover those eight years, or the hopes and plans ECMAS had had for that period of our lives. What I can do is to use those computer materials to prove my entire innocence, and that of my associates, of the wrongdoing that we were accused of in the libeling newspaper article. And, of much greater importance to others, to demonstrate the massive misbehavior of which near-unaccountable power is capable, in hopes of deterring people in the news media from committing such abuses in the future.
As also noted above, one of the conditions of the agreement negotiated with the other side in this suit (along with a monetary settlement of an amount substantially more than my legal expenses of $100, 000, and a retraction) was release from the "implied undertakings" that normally forbid either side from making public any documents formally received from the other, unless those documents are eventually presented as evidence at a trial. So note that release of the documents for the present use was allowed by The National Post Company, NP Holdings Company, Global Communications Limited and Donna Laframboise as part of the negotiated settlement, and not by way of their admitting any liability in the lawsuit. Furthermore, I must make it clear here that nothing which I allege regarding this case, including my personal opinions or any conclusions I draw from the documents, has been proven in court, and that the Defendants do not admit any such allegations, opinions or conclusions. I believe, however, that the evidence speaks for itself.
Some of the computer files here presented were created by scanning "hard copy" documents using optical character recognition ("OCR") software, then correcting recognition errors by eye. Some errors will have been missed, but I believe they are all inconsequential. A few files, as will be seen, were created by scanning original "hard copy" to image files, hence are exact facsimiles. All other files are in the electronic form originally given me by court reporters or the other side. I have of course kept all of the original printed and hand-written materials (as I presume the other side has done) for the sake of verifying those presented electronically here, should the need arise.
However, in some electronic documents here, names of certain ipersons are replaced by phrases (e.g., 'the aunt') describing them. Though guilty of wrongdoing, they were, I believe, deceived by a certain person (Louise Malenfant, now deceased) and I do not wish to distress them. In a few places, the names of persons incidentally mentioned have also been deleted for the sake of their privacy, as have various telephone numbers; and identities of a few others about whose original roles there is unclear or conflicting evidence are hidden by deletion of certain words and phrases. And to avoid constant Internet exposure of the name of the paralegal mentioned below, his first name has been changed in all of the documents to 'Tim' in brackets. The sole remaining content-difference between these documents and originals is that at many places I've made explanatory comments, in brackets and in red so as to be distinguished from original text. In so doing, I've often adjusted letter- and line-sizing to preserve the lines and pagination of original "hard copy" documents--though subsequent conversion to html format for web-posting created some visual awkwardness. (One problem created by converting Microsoft Word documents to html is that the page and paragraph numbers in the annotated contents and the ethical-violations index no longer apply to MY CASE.html. For that reason, a pdf version of My Case, one which does preserve original pagination though its hyperlinks are disabled, has been added to the documents-list page.)
Summary abstract for "My Case"
This lawsuit was launched after lengthy attempts by me to get the National Post to avoid it, first by warning them repeatedly of the reporter's libelous publication plans tied to her slander of me to my associates in ECMAS, then by imploring them after publication to retract the article's libels against me and those associates. The reporter herself has testified that none of the editors ever investigated what she was doing. And the massive evidence shows that she herself never genuinely investigated any of the subjects about which she went on make many false claims and insinuations in the article. Instead she was evidently motivated by a pre-existing relationship with a person (Ms. Malenfant) whose motives she had reasons to know were malicious, and by her own prejudices.There are even signs that the reporter suppressed some damning evidence of her actions which she was obligated to turn over in the lawsuit process. All of the claims made in this summary are supported at length in this site through the many linked documents.
The initial defamation involved an academic book of mine, one noting the biological fact that it is natural for children to have sexual feelings toward one another. But to a volunteer organization I was a member of, who the reporter knew had no knowledge of the book, she represented me as having condoned child sex abuse. She urged them to expel me from the group over that, under threat of publishing an exposť of my association with them. I quickly convinced them that my book does no such horrid thing. Yet in the article, she made claims about the book and presented their initial panicked response--an ECMAS board meeting to consider her demand to expel me--as if they saw the claims as credible and had chosen on their own to consider expelling me. To do this, she hid her accusation and threats to them, and the fact that they had voted in my favor, from readers.
Her article did not (directly) make her original accusation, but did distort other points in my book --other established facts or clear conclusions from them--in a way that made me appear uncaring over child sex abuse. She had presented none of her published claims to me in advance for my response. Yet the article alleged I'd been asked what I meant by certain passages and refused to answer; it was false on both counts. Indeed, I had asked to reply in print to certain false claims--also different from those finally published in the article--insinuated in an e-mail the reporter had sent me after slandering me to the volunteer group's president. But the fact that I had tried to defend myself, and all the responses I submitted in so doing, were suppressed by the newspaper. The reporter's other communications in this affair, and her answers in examination for discovery, all reveal that what lay behind her many distortions was not honest error but a very high level of bad faith.
The article's "news hook" was the group ECMAS's involvement with an individual who had, five years earlier, been convicted and disbarred as a lawyer for soliciting sex from a 16-year-old prostitute. Here again the reporter suppressed and distorted much vital information that she had: about the desperate need of many for the free and the paid help that he alone was able to give us. Also about the extenuating reasons behind his election as vice president--reasons involving the malicious person described above as acting in league with the reporter. The reporter's evident motive for doing all this was to insinuate that the group, and I in particular, condoned his crime.
The article went on to make false insinuations about my behavior regarding this individual: that I was covering up his past, pressuring vulnerable people to hire him and pressuring the group to be sure no one coming to it for help escaped his clutches. It went on to hint that I did all these things from a financial motive or from outright corruption. These insinuations, too, were based on large amounts of suppressed information, including crucial facts from her own informants. In fact, the false claims the latter made that were negative toward me were trivial in nature, but in print they were distorted into libelous falsehoods.
One key example: I had often urged two sisters to ask the paralegal for information--free--that the son of one of them needed, and at one point urged them to explore the possibility of hiring him for extended help. Later, these two went to the reporter's local ally noted above--a person with no legal credentials who claimed she could give them the help they felt a desperate need for--who then told them falsehoods regarding the contents of my book. Between these emotional influences on them and deceit by the reporter, the article made it appear (partly by omitting the fact that they were sisters describing the same set of events) that they were two examples of my pressuring people to fire their lawyers and hire the paralegal. But she suppressed her other two sources' testimony on the subject: they told her they'd been with me at nearly every meeting attended by new contacts, and never observed me to do any such thing.
In the course of promoting such claims originating with the malicious ally, the reporter refused to contact any witnesses, no matter how crucial, to whom that person hadn't sent her, and quoted in regard to me (anonymously, giving an illegitimate and partially false reason) only persons whose involvement with that ally clearly compromised their credibility. In spite of this, some of my associates attempted to inform her of the facts about me--but she evaded or suppressed all of their information. As for those her ally sent her to, the reporter manipulated them to get them to support her accusations, or else manipulated their words in print. To repeat, she ultimately did not deceive my associates. But she was able to pressure a group in another city into dissolving its formal ties to ECMAS. Hiding her manipulations of them likewise reinforced the false appearance of odious behavior by me. But the documents presented here make the actual facts of the story available to any who care to see.
FerrelChristensen, Professor Emeritus [My Case] [Document list]
[See The Post's retraction below.]
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