Couple Charged With Sexual Assault Wins Internet Defamation Lawsuit
A Texas couple, Mark Lesher, 63, and his wife, Rhonda, 50, were accused by a woman of sexual assault. Mark Lesher is a prominent attorney, and Rhonda was running a successful day spa. The accusation included a man who works on the Lesher’s ranch. Before they stood trial in January 2009, there was a steady stream of attacks on the Web forum Topix.com. The comments accused the couple of murder, encouraging pedophilia, drug abuse and other crimes that materially attack their characters.
In January 2009, the couple and their ranch hand were found not guilty on all charges.
Three years ago, the couple filed a 365-page lawsuit naming 178 pseudonyms used to post what they considered the most defamatory messages. They posted the lawsuit on Topix and served the company a subpoena to obtain the IP addresses. A Texas judge ordered Topix to turn over the identifying information about the anonymous posters. The Internet Protocol (IP) addresses led to a couple that owned a business, and accused the Lesher’s of sexual assault in 2008.
In July 2009, the Leshers filed an amended petition in the District Court of Tarrant County, Texas naming Shannon Coyel, the couple’s accuser; her husband Gerald Covel and his brother, James Coyel. Also named as a defendant was Apache Truck & Van Parts of Kennedale, Texas and two of its employers, Charlie and Pat Doescher.
On Friday, a jury awarded the Leshers a judgment of $13.78 million.
Mark and Rhonda Lesher stand on the steps of Collin County Courthouse in McKinney, Texas, shortly after their acquittal of sexual assault charges Jan. 16, 2009. On Friday, the couple were awarded
The Gazette reported a malicious prosecution suit is pending that names as defendants the Coyels and Red River County District Attorney Val Varley, who unsuccessfully prosecuted the sexual assault case against the Leshers. That suit accuses them of conspiring to convict the Leshers of a crime they did not commit. The newspaper reports that a jury trial is scheduled for August.
Ryan Calo, who teaches privacy law at Stanford Law School and is joining the faculty at the University of Washington School of Law, said
“Defamation is one area of law in which a jury or court have to figure out how much damage has been done. It’s not a car accident where you can calculate medical bills and how much work was lost after an injury. There’s something more ephemeral in a reputation.”
There is a difference between free speech, which states an opinion, and accusations stated as fact that have no basis in fact and causes harm to the personal lives of others.
There’s more on this story and other internet defamation stories on ABC News.
The Similarity of This Case and That Involving One of Our Writers
This case causes me to reflect on the individual who harasses one of our writers, Santiago, and accuses him of being a convicted woman and child abuser. Even after the court entered a restraining order against that person, he continues to violate it and continues to wrongfully accuse Santiago. After Santiago petitioned the court to hold the person in contempt for violating the restraining order, that person, or someone they collude with, tweeted a link to Santiago’s wife’s employer. The link was to a website where the defamatory material was posted. Santiago’s wife is a college professor.
A defense against a claim of defamation or libel is that it is the truth. In this matter, the decision entered by the court supports that the accuser deliberately defames. I say “deliberately” because that person purchased the case documents. They are not open to the public via a court’s website. The order of the court dismissing the case was just as easily obtainable as anything else in the case file.
If You Have Been Notified By Twitter That Your Account Information Has Been Subpoenaed, You Might Want to Read This.
Santiago’s accuser has had a protected Twitter account since about July 2014, just after the court entered a restraining order against him. Last week, he made that account public and tweeted to people that their Twitter account information was being subpoenaed. He also taunted them saying that they were or are going to be sued.
The person doing that, and who is referred to here as the “accuser” is the same person who last year threatened to continue filing copyright infringement complaints with Word Press until they delete this blog.
It has come to my attention that on Friday, Twitter sent email notifications to people advising them that their account information has been subpoenaed. It is interesting that Santiago’s accuser would know that information before Twitter sent notifications, and know who was being subpoenaed. The case involves the parents of Kendrick Johnson and the Bell’s. Kendrick’s parents filed a lawsuit accusing the Bell’s of wrongful death and a cover-up. The Bell’s responded with a counter-suit accusing the Johnson’s of defamation.
There is no mistake that when the known sovereign citizen, harasser and extortioner tweeted to others that their Twitter account information was being subpoenaed, that it pertains to the Bell’s case.
On October 23, 2015, CNN reported that the Department of Justice filed two motions in that case. One motion was to intervene and the other motion requests the court to stay discovery, including the subpoena issued to Twitter, for 180 days. Hearing on the motions is pending. It would be premature for Twitter to do anything until those motions are ruled on by the court.
CNN did not include copies of the DOJ’s motions, nor the subpoena in its article for the information to be public. It is reasonable to believe that Santiago’s accuser has inside information, and that is no surprise since he associates with Vicki Pate, who somehow obtained Kendrick Johnson’s autopsy photos and posted them on her blog.
The subpoena requests the account information for approximately 23 individuals.
Interestingly, several of the individuals whose account information has been subpoenaed were directly targeted by Santiago’s accusers and his co-conspirators for defamation and harassment. In fact, the individual had a blog that focused on demeaning and defaming Santiago, myself, and two of the individuals whose handles are included in the subpoena. Surprisingly, as of Saturday morning, that blog has now been deleted.
Another interesting item is that the harassers have submitted comments to this blog, and or placed me in mentions on Twitter, attacking another blogger. That blogger’s Twitter’s account information has also been subpoenaed.
It appears that the Bells’ cross-complaint is being used by known White Supremacists in effort to conduct a fishing expedition to obtain the personal information of others and to cause them irreparable harm. The White Supremacists who have had blogs attacking and defaming myself and others, make their blogs known mostly by sending the links in comments submitted to this blog. I’ve never approved those comments for public posting. Because their blogs are not popular, the majority of their targeted victims do not know about and thus, do not read them.
Although I’ve blogged about that group here and since July, began documenting their actions, I cannot make people read and inform themselves.
Their current targeted victims have been ambushed.
On one blog, the person posted a three-step plan to destroy what they believe to be and have labeled “BGI social justice warriors.” Trying to place a definition on their conspiracy theory is difficult but might be summarized as saying that anyone, regardless of their race, who is on social media and supports justice for minorities, is a “BGI social justice warrior.” The three-step plan to destroy them/us starts with taking their money and silencing them. After posting his step-by-step instructions on how to destroy the lives of BGI social justice warriors, he has now deleted that blog.
If anyone has been notified by Twitter that their account information has been subpoenaed, please conduct a Google search of your Twitter handle and “BGI.” You might be surprised at the results. Take screen shots and make sure that you retain the URL where it is found.
We might very well come to find that every person named in the subpoena has been harassed by a certain group of people long before they took interest in the death of Kendrick Johnson.
About a week ago, Santiago’s accuser boastfully posted on Facebook that the contempt proceeding has cost Santiago $10,000. His accuser has also publicly stated that he plans to file a lawsuit and a lien against Santiago’s condo. Thankfully in California, the clerks do not honor les pendes liens submitted by in pro per litigants without an order of the court. As reported on my other blog, those with sovereign citizen ideologies use the court system to financially harm their victims. Santiago’s accuser has admitted to being a sovereign citizen. Sovereign citizenship has its roots in White Supremacy ideologically.
This is the agenda of the White Supremacists who believe that some people are 14th Amendment citizens and as such, have no right to petition the government for redress of differences. They believe that their proper response is to deprive them of freedom of speech and their assets.
So, this same individual knows the handles in the subpoena when it is not public knowledge, opens his protected Twitter account to the public to tweet to individuals that their account information is being subpoenaed, and that they are going to be sued. Because his tweets included defamation of Santiago in violation of the court’s restraining order, Twitter suspended his account, but not before numerous people took screenshots.
Last year, this same individual boasted about interning for Fresno, California attorney John Gist, and at that same time, began tweeting the personal information of others on Twitter. There is also support that he obtained, or sought to obtain, Santiago’s credit report. Attorney Gist concentrates in bankruptcy, which law requires them to conduct property ownership and credit checks for their clients.
In May of last year, the same person petitioned the California Superior Court of Fresno County for a restraining order, and requested the court to order Santiago to testify to the identity of certain people on Twitter. Some of those same handles are in the current subpoena issued in the Bell’s case. The court denied the accuser’s petition.
Like another individual who was deceived into doxing and harassing people earlier this year, I can’t help but wonder if the Bell’s realize that they are being deceived, not for their benefit, but as participants in a conspiracy to destroy people who have been harassed, defamed, and threatened by the very person who knew that their handles were in the subpoena before they were notified by Twitter?
The Department of Justice must stop this in its tracks.
I wrote this in haste because of the urgency of the situation, so have not included screenshots and URLs. If you are interested in receiving any supporting information, please post a comment of your request. If you have not commented on this blog previously, your comment will go into moderation. If you do not want it publicly posted, just say so and I will keep your request in confidence.
Posted on 11/02/2015, in Cases, Cyberharassment and tagged contempt of court, defamation, DOJ, internet, Kendrick Johnson, Mark Lesher, restraining order, Rhonda Lesher, Santiago Rodriguez, Shannon Coyel, subpoenas, Texas, Topix, Twitter, Vicki Pate. Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.