Ernest Angley representative says woman exaggerating injury claims
Beacon Journal, Dec. 5, 2002
By Phil Trexler, Beacon Journal staff writer
An Ernest Angley representative lashed out Wednesday at a woman who claims she was beaten while seeking a healing session for her mother with the TV evangelist.
Angley spokesman Raymond Spangler said the Cleveland woman is exaggerating her injury claims after failing to get a cash settlement from the Cuyahoga Falls-based ministry.
Gloria DeFrancesco, 61, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Summit County against Angley, his ministry and six volunteers.
“Every time she tells the story, it grows in dimension,” Spangler said. “She was not thrown to ground. She was not punched.”
DeFrancesco could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Her attorney, David Forrest of Cleveland, did not return a call left at this office.
In her lawsuit, DeFrancesco claims she was roughed up and suffered a detached retina while trying to take her 94-year-old mother on stage for a personal healing by Angley.
In August 2001, the woman and her mother, who uses a wheelchair, were in a handicapped area awaiting their turn to enter the stage when they were stopped by ushers, the suit claims.
Spangler said the woman initiated the scuffle when she used the point of an umbrella to strike a volunteer usher “20 times in the gonads.”
He claims DeFrancesco was “kicking and screaming and cussing” after being detained. He denied the woman’s claims that she was lifted, pushed and struck about the head and body.
DeFrancesco’s lawsuit claims she was hospitalized and underwent surgery to repair her eye.
Spangler said the ushers were unaware that Angley had personally given DeFrancesco and her mother permission to take the stage on future visits. Traditionally, Angley walks down to the handicapped area to offer his healings to the disabled.
Spangler said he tried to soothe the woman’s anger, but she declined.
After the confrontation, Spangler said he watched as DeFrancesco was escorted from Angley’s studio. He said she sat in a vehicle and repeatedly struck her head on the dashboard and window.
Spangler said the woman tried to negotiate a financial settlement with the church prior to filing the lawsuit. He could not recall the terms.
“We put up with an immense amount from this woman,” he said. “We put up with her because of her mother. There’s no reasoning with this woman.”
The mother, since deceased, was a longtime church member and financial benefactor to Angley’s ministry, Spangler said.
Spangler accused DeFrancesco of “trying to get a lot of miles” out of “this poor old mother business.”