Popular California televangelist Paul Crouch – founder of the world’s largest Christian broadcasting outlet, the Trinity Broadcasting Network – apparently has some scary lawyers.
When one of them sent a terse letter to the new NBC Universal-PAX TV reality show, “Lie Detector,” the producers shelved a scheduled episode featuring a male former TBN employee who claims to have had sex with the 70-year-old Crouch.
However, while some legitimate ministries and teachers (those who adhere to the orthodox teachings and practices of historical Christianity) appear on TBN, the network promotes such an incredible amount of heretical material – including extremist Word-Faith teachings – that it is often referred to as “The Blasphemy Network.”
“Crouch’s lawyers threatened to sue everyone except for me,” the show’s host, Rolonda Watts, told Daily News contributor Jawn Murray. Crouch attorney Colby May, however, denied yesterday that he tried to put the fear of God into the show’s producers.
During the “Lie Detector” segment, which was to have aired March 15 on PAX, Crouch’s accuser, Enoch Lonnie Ford, submitted to a polygraph examination conducted by Dr. Ed Gelb, the show’s resident forensic psychophysiologist.
I don’t know how the test came out, and “Lie Detector” executive producer Mark Phillips refused to tell me.
But it’s safe to say that accuser Ford repeated allegations of a gay tryst with the conservative preacher – the subject of years of litigation. Ford received a $425,000 settlement from TBN after the network fired him in 1998.
Yesterday, May told me he simply informed “Lie Detector” execs of a court order restraining Ford from publicly discussing his accusations. May said his letter noted that the court might hold the show and its producers in contempt for helping Ford violate the order.
Phillips told me the Ford segment is still likely to air. “It was canceled temporarily, pending our own legal review,” he said, adding, “I’m not subject to any restraining order.”
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Mar. 30, 2005 Column