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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Drew Belsky

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2016 candidates react to the Supreme Court’s marriage decision

Drew Belsky
By Drew Belsky

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Five days after the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision mandating the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples, most of the 2016 presidential candidates have made their opinions on the issue known.

While all of the Democrats currently in the race aggressively supported the ruling, the Republicans' reactions to the Supreme Court's marriage ruling have been more varied.

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who is expected to announce his candidacy soon, criticized the Obergefell decision, calling it "a grave mistake." Walker suggested that "the only alternative" to Friday's decision is "to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage."

Texas senator Ted Cruz has doubled down on Walker's call for a constitutional amendment. Not only is Cruz seeking an amendment to protect states' right to define marriage, but he also hopes to amend the Constitution to demand "periodic judicial retention elections" for Supreme Court justices – namely, Cruz said, for those who "overstep their bounds [and] violate the Constitution."

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush shied away from a constitutional marriage amendment. "Guided by my faith," Bush said in a statement, "I believe in traditional marriage." However, "in a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side. It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate."

Florida senator Marco Rubio agreed with Bush, exhorting Republicans to "look ahead" and concentrate on the nomination process for new judges. Likewise with Ohio governor John Kasich, who said on Face the Nation that "it's time to move on" and "take a deep breath."

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

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina concurred. While "I do not agree that the Court can or should redefine marriage," Fiorina said, "[m]oving forward...all of our effort should be focused on protecting the religious liberties and freedom of conscience."

South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham forthrightly condemned a constitutional marriage amendment as "a divisive effort that would be doomed to fail." Graham told NBC News, "I would not engage in the Constitutional amendment process as a party going into 2016. Accept the Court's ruling. Fight for the religious liberties of every American."

Libertarian-leaning Kentucky Senator Rand Paul wrote in Time Magazine that the federal government should remove itself completely from the marriage issue. "Our founding fathers went to the local courthouse to be married, not Washington, D.C.," Paul wrote.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal "strongly disagree[s]" with the Obergefell ruling, but he admitted on Sunday that his state would ultimately comply with the Supreme Court's decision. "We do not have a choice."

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie went one step farther. While he "agree[s] with Chief Justice John Roberts" that "this is something that should be decided by the people, and not ... five lawyers," the governor admitted that "those five lawyers get to impose it under our system, and so our job is going to be to support the law of the land[.]"

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum foresees a widespread silencing of those who dissent from the Supreme Court's interpretation of marriage. "There's no slippery slope here," Santorum told the Family Research Council Friday; "religious liberty is under assault today – not going to be, it is – and it's going to be even more so ... with this decision."

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee expressed similar sentiments, excoriating the Supreme Court for flouting millions of Americans who voted to affirm "the laws of nature." Huckabee said on Friday, "I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat."

On the other end of the spectrum, former Democratic Maryland governor and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley contended that it is homosexuals, not religious objectors to the Obergefell decision, who need more protections from the state.

Calling the ruling a "major step forward," O'Malley proceeded to demand passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that criminalizes "discrimination" based on an "individual's actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity." Opponents worry it would force religious employers to hire homosexuals and transgender people.

Passing ENDA, O'Malley said, would help "more fully realize the vision of an open, respectful, and inclusive nation that Friday's decision aspires us [sic] to be."

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Drew Belsky

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Obama Department of Justice to Virginia school: Let girl use boys’ bathrooms

Drew Belsky
By Drew Belsky

July 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - The Obama administration's Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a "statement of interest" Monday in support of a Virginia high school sophomore who is seeking to use bathrooms designated for members of the opposite sex.

In June 2015, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit against the Gloucester County School Board on behalf of 15-year-old Gavin Grimm, who is biologically female but wants to use male bathrooms and locker rooms.

Grimm claimed that she had used such facilities without incident for seven weeks until December 2014, when the school board enacted a policy requiring "transgender" students to use private restrooms.

Grimm testified in early 2015 that "[n]ow that the board has passed this policy, school no longer feels as safe and welcoming as it did before[.] ... Being singled out is a glaring reminder of my differences and causes me significant discomfort every time I have to use the restroom."

The Obama administration declared in May 2014 that sex discrimination under Title IX applies to those who identify as "transgender."  The Department of Education followed up last December by ordering federally funded schools to classify students based on "gender identity" rather than biological sex.

Regardless, Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jeremy Tedesco told LifeSiteNews in June of this year that Grimm's and the ACLU's discrimination claims would not hold water.  Citing a district court case in Pennsylvania, Tedesco noted (emphasis in original) that "[t]he Court ... highlighted that Title IX's implementing regulations state that schools do not violate Title IX when they 'provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex.'"

Title IX, part of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, is a statute that "prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity."

"Every court to consider this issue has held that single-sex restrooms and locker room facilities are permitted under Title IX," Tedesco concluded.

Now, according to the DoJ's "statement of interest" in support of Grimm, filed this week, "[t]he United States has a significant interest in ensuring that all students, including transgender students, have the opportunity to learn in an environment free of sex discrimination and that the proper legal standards are applied to claims under Title IX" (p. 2, all citations omitted).  Per the DoJ, Grimm "is likely to succeed on the merits" of her Title IX claim, and "it is in the public interest to allow [Grimm] ... to use the male restrooms at Gloucester High School."

Regarding the Pennsylvania case mentioned by Tedesco, the DoJ claims that "[t]he district court's reasoning in that case was faulty and should not be followed."

One Gloucester County School Board member who voted against the December bathroom policy fretted that "federal dollars are at stake." Her concern was well-founded: five months later, the Obama administration threatened to deny Virginia's Fairfax County School Board $42 million in federal funding if the board refused to change its own bathroom protocols.  The Fairfax board ruled in May – over the strenuous objections of parents in attendance – that "transgender" students could use facilities in accordance with their "gender identity."

"Although certain parents and community members may object to students sharing a common use restroom with transgender students," the DoJ declared in its brief for Grimm, "any recognition of this discomfort as a basis for discriminating would undermine the public interest."

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"There are absolutely no grounds for considering unions between two persons of the same sex to be in any way similar to God’s plan for marriage and the family," said Bishop Strickland.
Lisa Bourne

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Bishop to all mass-goers: Catholics have ‘duty’ to ‘emphatically oppose’ marriage ruling

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – All mass-goers this weekend in the Diocese of Tyler, Texas will hear a clear reminder from their bishop about what marriage is, regardless of last Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision.

“Let me unambiguously state at the outset that this extremely unfortunate decision by our government is unjust and immoral, and it is our duty to clearly and emphatically oppose it,” Bishop Joseph Strickland wrote in a statement that will be read after Sunday’s Gospel throughout the diocese.

“In spite of the decision by the Supreme Court, there are absolutely no grounds for considering unions between two persons of the same sex to be in any way similar to God’s plan for marriage and the family.” 

“Regardless of this decision,” the bishop said, “what God has revealed and what the Church therefore holds to be true about marriage has not changed and is unchangeable.”

Bishop Strickland explains in his letter that marriage was created by God and passed down through history via the Church.

“Marriage is not just a relationship between human beings that is based on emotions and feelings,” he said. “Rather, our Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Traditions tell us that God established true marriage with its own special nature and purpose, namely the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children.”

Bishop Strickland also reminded the faithful that unjust discrimination against individuals with homosexual tendencies is to be avoided, and that they must be treated with loving kindness and respect based on their dignity as human persons.

He also said that while Christ rejects no one, he calls all people to be converted from sinful inclinations.

“Nevertheless,” the bishop stated, “our continued commitment to the pastoral care of homosexual persons cannot and will not lead in any way to the condoning of homosexual behavior or our acceptance of the legal recognition of same-sex unions.”

In his message Bishop Strickland also cautioned against compromising on the Church’s teaching on sexual morality in situations where loved ones suffer from same-sex attraction.

“While some of us may have family members who have same-sex attraction,” he said, “this decision to require the legal recognition of so-called marriage between homosexual persons should in no way lead us to believe that the living out of this orientation or the solemnizing of relationships between two persons of the same sex is a morally acceptable option.”

The bishop plans to decree that no clergy member or of employee of the Tyler diocese may take part in solemnizing or consecrating same-sex “marriages,” and likewise no diocesan property, facility or any location designated for Catholic worship may be used for a same-sex “marriage.”

Bishop Strickland said it was his responsibility as a shepherd of the Church to act, and he called for prayer for the country to come to a greater understanding marriage as revealed by God. He said as well that it was necessary to faithfully oppose the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the law. 

“We know that unjust laws and other measures contrary to the moral order are not binding in conscience” Bishop Strickland stated, “thus we must now exercise our right to conscientious objection against this interpretation of our law which is contrary to the common good and the true understanding of marriage.”

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