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Judge Dismisses Lawsuit from Parents Who Said Their Son Was Forcibly Baptized – Friendly Atheist

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Having a mentor from the Big Brothers Big Sisters program is supposed to be an educational, uplifting experience. Ohio native April Defibaugh certainly thought it would help her 11-year-old, developmentally disabled son. And everything was fine until her son’s mentor took him to get baptized at nobody’s request. The pastor held the boy underwater, to his surprise, leading him to have recurring nightmares.

Last September, Defibaugh filed a police report calling for criminal charges against everyone involved.

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“They held my son under water. It wasn’t like they sprinkled water on his head, it was like full immersion. He kicked, he screamed and told them beforehand that he was afraid. Every day since then he’s had nightmares, the same recurring dream, about being baptized over and over like he’s drowning,” says Defibaugh.

Now she wants assault and child endangering charges filed against the Morning Star Friends Church in Chardon, the pastor, the big brother and the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization itself.

The officer who filed the report told her it’s unlikely any of the criminal charges would stick since there was no physical harm. That said, it was appalling to think that these people could get away with forcing Christianity upon a child who wasn’t asking for it. It’s the result of a mindset that thinks you’re helping people by foisting your beliefs on them — something that would undoubtedly be controversial if any other religion were involved. (Can you imagine Todd Starnes‘ reaction if a Big Brother took a child of a Christian mother to a Satanic Black Mass ceremony?)

Unfortunately, those criminal charges went nowhere. So American Atheists filed a lawsuit on behalf of April Defibaugh and her husband Gregg back in March. They went after the local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Big Brother assigned to the son (David Guarnera), his church, the pastor (Matthew Chesnes), the court-appointed guardian ad litem who proselytized to the family and assigned Guarnera to their son (Margaret Vaughan), and her organization CASA.

The lawsuit alleges that [child] V’s court-appointed guardian ad litem, Margaret Vaughan, repeatedly proselytized to V’s parents, April and Gregg DeFibaugh, and their children and told them that “families need God to raise children.” Despite complaining multiple times to Vaughan’s supervisors, no corrective action was taken by the agency. In 2015, Vaughan recruited David Guarnera, a member of her church, to act as a mentor for V through the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Northeast Ohio (BBBS).

According to the suit, despite explicit instructions from the DeFibaughs to refrain from religious activities with V, Guarnero would frequently discuss religion with V. On August 28, 2016, Guarnero took V to a picnic at his church, the Morning Star Friends Church in Chardon, and, along with the church pastor, Matthew Chesnes, forcibly baptized V, pushing him under water. Since the incident, V has suffered anxiety and extreme emotional distress.

“We are horrified by Pastor Chesnes’ and Mr. Guanera’s actions,” said Amanda Knief, American Atheists’ national legal director. “The people that the DeFibaughs relied on to protect their child violated their trust and their constitutional rights.”

The lawsuit asked for all the bad actions to be declared unconstitutional and for an appropriate amount of compensatory and punitive damages in addition to legal costs and attorneys’ fees.

This week, unfortunately, U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Gaughan dismissed the case. Her ruling focused on why the defendants couldn’t be sued on these matters.

The judge found CASA is entitled to absolute immunity from their claims since their actions in appointing and not removing the guardian were done in an official capacity. The guardian was excused from the suit since the couple failed to demonstrate her alleged misconduct took place outside her role as a guardian, which had limited powers.

The judge also agreed with Big Brothers Big Sisters’ argument that they should be dismissed because the boy’s Big Brother was merely a volunteer working for a private nonprofit group.

Gaughan said the plaintiffs failed to show the defendants had a single plan to violate their First Amendment rights to freedom of religion and separation of church and state

While there may be justifications under the law for the dismissals, it’s incredibly frustrating that Christianity could be foisted upon this child with no legal recourse for his family. It’s yet another example of how good it is to be religious, because I can’t imagine this scenario taking place with any other faith (or lack of it).

(Image via Shutterstock. Large portions of this article were published earlier. Thanks to Brian for the link.)

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rclatterbuck
1 day ago
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Quote #10581

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< Kalium> Bucket: velociraptors are smaller than you think
< Bucket> Okay, Kalium.
< Kalium> wait, I forgot that Velociraptors is also a denizen.
< Kalium> I wonder what the split on those factoids is
< BytesAndCoffee> Bucket: velociraptors are the vectorized form of speedraptors
< Bucket> Okay, BytesAndCoffee.
< taixzo> velociraptors are the differential of positiraptors
< taixzo> if you differentiate them again, you get acceleraptors which are simply terrifying
< jamesl> velociraptors are speedraptors travelling in a particular direction
< Vulpes> so wait, what if you differentiate acceleraptors?
< Vulpes> do you get jerkraptors?
< Stayman> Those are the worst
< BytesAndCoffee> Stayman: they're literally jerks
< Stayman> absolute jerks. The lot of them.
< Vulpes> jerkraptors make videos on youtube where they sexually harass women and say it's a "prank"
< Vulpes> fuck jerkraptors
-!- taixzo changed the topic of #xkcd to: Fuck jerkraptors | Happy Leif Erikson Day | Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! | AOL Instant Messenger shutting down on
December 15 | RIP AIM | http://www.spacex.com/webcast | Freeze peach hour | It’s use the wrong homophone hour | pikhq, our surviving descendant of The
Dictionary Wars; word | The waiting was
< BytesAndCoffee> i love how we got from a LAR quote to "Fuck jerkraptors"
< Stayman> If you differentiate Jerkraptors you get snapraptors.
* Kalium cracks a snapraptor and shakes it until it starts to glow
< Stayman> They're like snapdragons but much more terrifying.
< BytesAndCoffee> Stayman: who are shockingly good at jazz
< jamesl> dy / d(jerkraptors)
< taixzo> but then you also have crackleraptors and popraptors
< taixzo> (Popraptors have side jobs performing at Super Bowl halftime shows)
< Vulpes> also Taylor Swift is a secret poprap- dammit taixzo
< jamesl> Taylor Swift is not only a raptor, but an awful singer
< Vulpes> the old Taylor can't come to the phone right now
< Vulpes> why?
< Vulpes> because she's been kidnapped and replaced by a secret popraptor
< jamesl> the old Taylor can't come to the phone, because she's unable to pick up the handset due to a lack of thumbs
< Vulpes> jamesl, that requires some form of fanart really
< Vulpes> Taylor Swiftraptor desperately trying to pick up a phone without opposable thumbs
< jamesl> the raptor has Taylor Swift's hair, but a raptor's head
< Vulpes> also has some kind of Taylor Swift type dress of course
< Vulpes> 45 minutes ago: a velociraptor is the differential of a positiraptor
< Vulpes> now: this shit


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rclatterbuck
4 days ago
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Quote #10567

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<jamesl> I don't like that punctuation can change the meanings of sentences
<arble> I don't like that. Punctuation can change the meanings of sentences!


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rclatterbuck
17 days ago
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dancingloki: so obviously “what if the Allies had lost WWII” and “what if the North had lost the...

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dancingloki:

so obviously “what if the Allies had lost WWII” and “what if the North had lost the Civil War” are boring and racist for obvious reasons but you know what I would like to see?

“what if the Colonists had lost the invasion”

show me a story about what the world would be like today if the North and South American continents had remained under the control of their indigenous populations. Show me what those cultures would look like, having grown into world superpowers. Let me see that tv series

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rclatterbuck
21 days ago
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Years Of Rice And Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson
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Real Estate

6 Comments and 14 Shares
I tried converting the prices into pizzas, to put it in more familiar terms, and it just became a hard-to-think-about number of pizzas.
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rclatterbuck
25 days ago
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This! And to an order of magnitude (or so) less extent, car buying.
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5 public comments
tante
24 days ago
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Me doing any sort of adult financial stuff.
Oldenburg/Germany
mindspillage
25 days ago
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yep.
Mountain View, California
dukeofwulf
25 days ago
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The US national debt is 61k per citizen, 167k per taxpayer. Hopefully those numbers are more relatable. The government is racking up a credit card on our behalf, and our descendants will get the bill. http://www.usdebtclock.org/
kbenson
25 days ago
Debt to assets or net worth might of the country be a more intuitive way to look at this, which would naturally include companies and corporations, which definitely should be included for a number like that. Unless the goal of the number is to incite fear and outrage instead of illustrate and educate. But who would do something like that?
dukeofwulf
25 days ago
The goal was to but a big number in a relatable context. If we're looking for a more fair ratio, that would be debt over GDP. That said, companies and corporations are ultimately owned by (mostly) citizens, so ultimately it comes back to a debt to personal income ratio.
dukeofwulf
25 days ago
Another thing... sure, I feel fear and outrage is appropriate. Our country has a spending problem. Both in government and individually. We can't keep spending at this rate without raising taxes.
benzado
24 days ago
I agree with dukeofwulf, it's about time we raised taxes back up to sustainable levels!
olliejones
24 days ago
Yeh. Big sovereign debt. Due to big sovereign delusion that we can have highways and airports and military adventures without paying for them.
Covarr
25 days ago
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The average price of a house and the US national debt are both "more than I make in a year".
Moses Lake, WA
alt_text_bot
25 days ago
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I tried converting the prices into pizzas, to put it in more familiar terms, and it just became a hard-to-think-about number of pizzas.

20170922

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The post 20170922 appeared first on Least I Could Do.

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rclatterbuck
28 days ago
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Between Lin-Manuel, Jerry Holkins, and other luminaries, I have no problem ceding to their superior wordsmithery skills.
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