Via the PRNewsChannel comes word that a website’s owner, who lives in France, is being sued by an Oregon man via the Oregon judicial system over what may have several implications for ‘freedom of speech’.
Founded in 2002, Signs of The Times is an alternative news research resource and news analysis site. Its founder, Laura Knight-Jadczyk, is being sued by ‘Higher Balance Institute’ (HBI), owned by Eric Pepin and based in Oregon.
HBI alleges that the operators of SOTT.net "published false and defamatory statements" regarding HBI and Eric Pepin on the SOTT Web site forum. Pepin is seeking approximately $4.5 million in damages.
The suit stems from information posted on the SOTT.net forums where globally-based forum participants uncovered and re-posted public-domain information and newspaper records showing that Pepin had recently faced numerous sexual abuse charges in an Oregon court involving a child and former employee of HBI. A grand jury found enough evidence to indict Pepin who admitted in court to having sexual relations with his employees.
According to The Oregonian newspaper Judge Steven L. Price, who presided over the case, stated that it was "probable that the conduct alleged in all counts occurred," but that the absence of a date stamp on a video proving that the events occurred while the complainant was still a minor meant that the allegations could not be proven ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’. Judge Price was therefore obligated to acquit.
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.