Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

Convicted gay sex offender loses initial bid to muzzle pro-family website MassResistance

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
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July 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A convicted sex abuser who has filed a one million dollar suit against the pro-family group Mass Resistance suffered a setback last week when his motion for a preliminary injunction to silence the group was rejected by the presiding judge.

“Maine may not punish, through criminal sanction, an individual’s actions that are protected by the free speech clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,” wrote District Judge Patricia G. Worth in her decision, signed on July 11.

Meanwhile, a police chief that Adam E. Flanders has repeatedly claimed supported his lawsuit and described his sex abuse charge as akin to “stealing a candy bar” has disputed Flanders’ account of events in a LifeSiteNews (LSN) interview. LSN has also learned that in addition to the sex abuse charge, Flanders has been convicted of assaulting a minor with whom he had a sexual relationship, as well as the boy’s father, with a knife.

Flanders, a Belfast, Maine homosexual who was convicted in 2008 of sexual abuse of a minor and sentenced to three months in jail, has been seeking to force Mass Resistance to remove from its website a copy of a letter Flanders wrote in 2007, accusing a local homosexual “youth group” of facilitating the sexual abuse and exploitation of minors. It also describes Flanders’ own relationships with minors in the group after he had turned 18.

The letter, which was sent to the Maine Christian Civic League and quoted in whole or in part by local newspapers, has been on the Mass Resistance website since 2007 as evidence of the destructive nature of homosexual “youth groups,” which Mass Resistance President Brian Camenker says often facilitate abusive contact between adults and minors.

Flanders’ campaign to remove the letter and all references to him on the Mass Resistance website has included a successful motion for a restraining order against Camenker, granted by the same Judge Worth in June of this year, although Camenker says that he has never seen nor met Flanders, and was not permitted by Worth to testify in his defense. Flanders has also filed suit against Camenker in Maine district court for $1 million for “defamation,” “harassment,” and “stalking” by means of the posts.

While acknowledging the restraining order that she had recently approved against Camenker, Worth was not willing to muzzle Mass Resistance, noting, “An individual’s right to free speech loses its protection when the speech uttered constitutes libel, a true threat, or fighting words,” adding the “Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate ... that the writings rise to the level of fighting words (inciting an immediate, violent reaction). or a. ‘true . ..threat.’”

Flanders claims in his suit that Camenker is exaggerating the seriousness of his sex abuse conviction, which is a class D misdemeanor in Maine, and writes in his complaint that Belfast Police Chief Michael McFadden has called it equivalent to “stealing a candy bar.” He also claims that he has protected minority status in Maine due to state anti-discrimination laws, implies that Camenker is guilty of “hate crimes” against homosexuals, and requests that “Defendants’ online conduct be limited, that the Defendant refrain from further harassment and stalking against individuals based on their sexual orientation…”

Flanders also successfully shut down the Mass Resistance website last month after threatening the organization’s web hosting service, according to Camenker, who has since found a new hosting service that is not intimidated by Flanders’ threats.

In addition to Mass Resistance, Flanders recently threatened Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) with legal action for posting his letter and recounting Flanders’ actions against Mass Resistance. Flanders has also threatened LifeSiteNews with legal action if it does not remove a previous article written about the case and cease to write about the matter.

Belfast police chief distances himself from Flanders

In an interview with LifeSiteNews.com on Monday, Belfast Chief of Police Michael McFadden distanced himself from Flanders’ claim that he had said Flanders’ offense was no worse than “stealing a candy bar,” explaining that police often make such statements in an attempt to elicit a confession from a suspect.

Although he acknowledged that a recording that Flanders has of him making the statement is real, he added that “there could be a lot of things I said in that interview with him that were designed and are used by investigators nationwide to encourage people to talk about certain things. It might not be the way I feel, but it usually works in terms of getting people to confess to a criminal act.”

Asked if he regarded the actions of Flanders in the sex abuse case as morally equal to stealing a candy bar, McFadden answered: “Absolutely not, holy cow, no, but if I start my interview and say ‘what you’ve done is heinous, and horrible, and how could you?’ do you really think I’m going to get this person talking to me about it? No, of course, not. So you try and minimize these things as an investigator.”

McFadden also denied the claim made by Flanders in his suit that McFadden had said that he was “attempt[ing] to find some way to criminally charge Brian Camenker,” or that he had advised Flanders to sue, and noted that restraining orders such as the one imposed by Judge Worth don’t generally apply to people in other states.

“I can tell you that, I had a conversation with Adam Flanders, and if those are the things he quoted out of that conversation, not only has he taken what I said out of context, but he also misquoted me,” said McFadden, who also stated that “Adam Flanders is not a paid or unpaid spokesperson for the Belfast police department. He’s got no inside information.”

Although McFadden said his department has a strict policy of not verifying the existence or non-existence of investigations, he noted violations of restraining orders do not include activities in another state.

“You can’t have contact with someone long distance, unless you’re calling them on the phone I guess would be one way, emailing them, but you know if its happening in a different state, I don’t know that our protection orders would give us jurisdiction in another state, to curb the activity of someone in a different state,” he said, and affirmed that “to my knowledge there has been no violation of this particular [restraining] order” against Camenker.

McFadden says that he has received “threatening emails here at the police department, and very unflattering emails” in response to his perceived support of Flanders in his actions against Camenker, which he attributed to Camenker’s statements about him on his website, adding that “I don’t think those statements are fair or accurate.”  He said he was not taking sides in the dispute between Flanders and Camenker.

Flanders’ extensive criminal record revealed

LifeSiteNews has also learned that Flanders has a long list of convictions for which he expresses little remorse, and is seeking to erase from his record as he finishes a degree in biology.

In addition to his 2007 conviction for sexual abuse of a minor, which earned him a three-month jail sentence and put him on the state’s sex offender registry for ten years, Flanders was also convicted of assaulting one of the boys with whom he had had a sexual relationship at the youth club exposed in his letter, as well as the boy’s father, in 2008.  Flanders assaulted both victims with a knife, although the severity of their wounds is not clear.

According to the Bangor Daily News, Flanders was convicted on a host of counts related to the case, including “two counts aggravated assault, jail five years, all but nine months suspended each count, probation three years; two counts criminal threatening with dangerous weapon, jail nine months each count; protective order from harassment violation, jail 90 days; two counts violating condition of release, jail 90 days each count; tampering with witness, informant, juror or victim, jail two years six months, suspended, probation three years; two counts violating condition of release, jail two years six months each count, suspended.”

In toto, Flanders received over twelve years of jail time, all of which apparently was suspended except for nine months, of which he says on his blog that he only served part due to good behavior.

The Daily News also reports that Flanders was convicted again in late 2011 on two counts of violating the terms of his release and sentenced to yet another two-and-a-half-years in jail, which was also suspended in favor of probation.

Flanders claims that his convictions were due to the withholding of exculpatory evidence and says on his weblog that he is appealing the convictions. He refused to talk to LifeSiteNews when an interview was requested of him, and instead threatened LifeSiteNews with legal action, in a “CEASE AND DESIST notice to refrain from further publications about me.” He also indicated that he had contacted LifeSiteNews’ s Internet service provider in an apparent attempt to shut down its website.

“I demand that you remove the current publication about me,” wrote Flanders. “I will pursue litigation if you do not remove the offending material and/or continue to publish material about me. You are in violation of your web host’s Terms of Use and I have already been in touch with them concerning this matter and they are currently investigating your organization’s harassment and defamation. They indicated that your contract will likely be terminated and your website be removed in its entirety due to your violations.”

LifeSiteNews.com has been advised by legal counsel that nothing that LifeSiteNews has written regarding Flanders is actionable under American defamation law.

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received more than $400 million in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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