Lawsuit against WOFF on hold

RUTHERFORDTON — A former Word of Faith Fellowship member who had sued the church has temporarily dropped her case.

Lacy Wien filed her civil suit in early 2003, seeking $2.8 million in damages for what Wien says was years of physical and emotional ab-use while she was a member of the church.

Neither Wien nor her attorney Peter Lane of Rutherfordton would comment on the reason behind withdrawing the suit at this time except to say that it is a temporary withdrawal.

The case was scheduled to go to trial this fall.

Lane previously said Wien’s civil case revolves around the violation of her basic constitutional rights.

“We feel that Lacy has certain fundamental rights that have been violated including the right of free speech, the right of association with whomever she pleases, the right to go wherever she pleases, the right to earn a living in any place she desires and her own right to freedom of religion,” said Lane. “The law should, does, and will protect her rights.”

The WOFF is represented jointly by a New York-based firm and Charlotte attorney John Gresham.

Note:

“Along with Gresham, New York attorney Eric Lieberman is representing WOFF. Lieberman has represented the Church of Scientology over the years. Gresham said that to his knowledge the Scientologists have not helped to fund WOFF’s suit.”
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Gresham could not be reached Thursday for comment.

Wien spent most of her childhood in the church with her family, leaving in 2002 to reunite with her now husband Ruben.

Ruben is also a former WOFF member who left the church before Lacy.

In March, Wien won an misdemeanor assault conviction against WOFF co-founder Jane Whaley for an incident that occurred at the church building in Spindale while Wien was still a member in February 2002.

Word of Faith Fellowship
The Word of Faith Fellowship is an abusive church. Its teachings and practices fall so far outside those of normal, Biblical Christianity, that this church should be considered a cult of Christianity

Wien said Whaley picked her up by the neck and shoulders, leaving bruises, banged her head against a wall several times and held her down on a table while shouting at her. Wien said the meeting lasted for over an hour which involved Whaley and other’s concerns over Wien’s relationship with Ruben.

Judge Robert Cilley did not buy the church members’ arguments that the meeting was an attempt to help Wien and prevent her from being harmed by Ruben.

“The defendant came in and asked if she (Wien) had fornicated with him (Ruben),” said Cilley at the time in summarizing the facts. “It was spoken in a loud voice. I can’t hear the love in that. At this point, according to Lisa Brown (Lacy’s mother), the defendant took the plaintiff by the shoulders and tried to get her attention.”

“A Judge can’t do that to a lawyer, a doctor can’t do that to a patient and a pastor can’t do that to a parishioner,” Cilley added.

Whaley has appealed the conviction which was for a Class 2 misdemeanor and no jail time but included an order to pay court costs and a $100 fine.

Wien claims that assault was part of a long-term pattern of control by the controversial church.

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