Liberty Law Dean Says Gay Mom’s Racketeering Suit Against School Is Frivolous
Posted Oct 22, 2012 8:24 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Updated: A lesbian woman who won a court battle for custody of her daughter has filed a civil racketeering suit that accuses Liberty University School of Law of conspiring in the girl’s disappearance.
The federal suit filed by Janet Jenkins in Burlington, Vt., alleges a conspiracy to kidnap the girl and take her out of the country, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The school's parent, Liberty University, is among several defendants named in an amended complaint. Law dean Mathew Staver and his law firm, Liberty Counsel, unsuccessfully defended Jenkins’ partner, Lisa Ann Miller, who had claimed she did not have to follow a Vermont court order for visitation because Virginia does not honor civil unions. Miller, the birth mother, did not approve of visitation because she had become an evangelical Christian and disagreed with Jenkins’ lifestyle.
Miller lost the court battle, resulting in a judge’s order to transfer custody to Jenkins, the story says. Miller fled the country with the girl and they are still missing. An Amish-Mennonite pastor was convicted in August of aiding and abetting the kidnapping, ChristianNews.Net and Reuters reported at the time.
Miller had worked at Liberty Christian Academy, a school on the same campus as the law school. Jenkins' suit cites a phone call to Staver’s cellphone by the man who drove Miller to Canada, according to the Sentinel account. Staver says he didn’t speak to the driver that day, and has called Jenkins’ suit against the law school frivolous and outrageous, according to the Sentinel. He is not personally named as a defendant.
"I had no involvement in their departure, had no knowledge that they had departed or intended to depart," Staver told the Sentinel. "She just disappeared, and we couldn't reach her anymore."
ABAJournal.com: "Union of Feuding Mothers Dissolved"
Updated on Oct. 26 to state that the amended complaint names Liberty University as a defendant.