$500K awarded in slander lawsuit against preacher

A Twiggs County, Georgia jury has awarded a Houston County woman more than $500,000 in damages and attorney’s fees after her former pastor told the congregation in 2006 that she had committed some form of “fornication.”

The lawsuit was filed by Angela Driver against the Rev. Mark Fogarty, pastor of First United Pentecostal Church, 603 Wellborn Road, Warner Robins. Fogarty lives in Twiggs County, where the lawsuit was filed in 2008.

According to the lawsuit, the Rev. Mark Fogarty made a “false and defamatory statement” to the congregation in which he defined acts of fornication and then stated, “I have personal knowledge that I will not go into at this time … that Angela has committed one of these acts (that constitutes fornication).”

According to a defense motion filed before the trial, the pastor was explaining to the church body why was he was giving James Driver the biblical permission to remarry and discussed that the Bible allows divorce and remarriage on the grounds of adultery and fornication. He explained that the biblical definition of fornication includes more than sex outside of marriage. He told the congregation he had given James Driver permission to remarry because Angela Driver had committed one act of fornication, the motion states.

Lawsuit  • Verdict


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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday July 7, 2010.
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