|Fenton Pastor Drops Suit against Web Accuser
By Robert Patrick
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 6, 2010
A Fenton pastor who sued the unidentified author of a Web site accusing him of child molestation has dropped the suit.
Lawyers for the Rev. James D. Manning of Solid Rock Ministries dismissed the suit last week. Manning and a lawyer did not return calls seeking comment about the reason for the dismissal.
Manning sued the person or persons responsible for the Web site Aug. 20, accusing them of intentionally inflicting emotional distress. But he was apparently never able to identify the site's creator, who used an anonymous Web hosting service.
Ken Chackes, one of the lawyers representing the site's author, said he did not know why the suit was dropped.
"The filing of the lawsuit did not seem a very smart thing to do," he said. "It's hard to understand the motivation for even filing the lawsuit other than to intimidate someone into taking the website down." It was, Chackes said, "highly unlikely that he could even succeed in that kind of lawsuit."
The site, protectkidsfromclergypredators.com, includes information from a 2003 suit against Manning and his church, and accuses him of abusing a girl for years, starting when she was 12.
According to the court file, Manning was dropped as a defendant from the suit the same day that the alleged victim was the sole witness in a brief bench trial. Based on her accusations against Manning, the judge found in favor of the victim and against the church, for $500,000.
The parties to the case did later agree that the victim would only seek the $250,000 available under the church's insurance policy.
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