Joshua Harris sent out the following letter yesterday to the members of Covenant Life Church regarding an investigation to be done by the law firm of Thaler Liebeler LLP.
From: Joshua Harris - Covenant Life Church <email@example.com>
Sent: Wed, Aug 28, 2013 5:44 pm
Subject: Independent Investigation Update
At the June 23 Members Meeting, I shared that we had decided to commission an investigation into the issues raised in the civil lawsuit against our church. This update is to let you know that the investigation is in progress. Basically, this means opening up our actions, policies and procedures, especially those that relate to child protection, to scrutiny. We see the investigation as a way to learn everything we can and grow from walking through the lawsuit.
After sharing our intention with the congregation on June 23, we proceeded to retain the nationally recognized, independent law firm of Thaler Liebeler LLP to do this work. This Washington, D.C. firm is an impartial third party with no prior connection to our church or the matters the lawsuit references. As we prayed and sought counsel from the Financial Advisory Committee and the church’s attorneys, we concluded that an investigation could help provide an added measure of clarity and closure over and above what the legal process provides, and serve to reassure both our church and the wider community.
Thaler Liebeler’s investigators will be gathering information from a variety of different sources. If you or someone you know within our church community has information that may be relevant to the investigation, you are invited to share that information with Thaler Liebeler LLP. You may provide information via e-mail to CLCInvestigation@TL-LawFirm.com or by mail to the following address:
Thaler Liebeler LLP
1825 Eye Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
You may provide contact information to the investigators for follow up, or you may choose to provide information anonymously.
Our goal is to be a church that looks to God in the midst of a public and highly sensitive lawsuit and reflects his holiness, compassion and mercy—to “aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man” (2 Corinthians 8:21). This means going the extra mile to see the situation resolved in a way that promotes justice, brings forth the truth, identifies false or distorted accusations, and most of all, that brings glory to God and draws people to know the love of Jesus Christ.
Even though the investigation will probably be accomplished in a matter of months, the lawsuit has been appealed and could be active for another year or more. The way the appeal process unfolds will be key in determining the best time to share the results of the investigation. But we’re committed to learning and applying all we can from the investigation and communicating its results at the earliest appropriate date. Please pray with us for the date to be sooner rather than later and for God’s guiding hand on every step in this process.
One final development of note: On August 8 the Circuit Court for Montgomery County issued an order denying the Plaintiffs' Motion to Reconsider, and also noted that since a Third Amended Complaint was not filed, the case is closed. However, as I mentioned above, the Plaintiffs' Notice of Appeal, filed with the Maryland Court of Special Appeals on June 14, 2013, is still pending.
As always, we welcome your input and questions. We’ve posted a brief chronology of the lawsuit in the member area of the church website to give you perspective. Also, if you missed the June 23 Members Meeting, you are still welcome to pick up an audio CD at the church office.
Thank you for continuing to pray for the glory of God and the gospel to be made known through our church.
I’ve asked the law firm some clarifying questions.
Please access my blog at BrentDetwiler.com. It contains hundreds of pages of information and evidence.
I will gladly help in your investigation. Please contact me in this regard.
At the conclusion of your investigation will you be sharing all your findings with Covenant Life Church? In other words, do you intend to share incriminating evidence with the public that could result in fines or jail time for CLC employees (e.g. Grant Layman), former employees (e.g. C.J. Mahaney, John Loftness, Gary Ricucci, Stephen Griney), or current members (e.g. Mark Hoffman, Dave Mayo, Charlie Llewellyn)?
From: Brent Detwiler [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, August 29, 2013 12:29 PM
Cc: email@example.com; Susan Burke; William O’Neil; Adam Malcolm; Ben Wikner; Bob Schickler; Braden Greer; Corby Megorden; Dave Brewer; Don DeVries; Don Nalle; Eric Sheffer; Eric Simmons; Grant Layman; Issac Hydoski; Jamie Leach; Joe Lee; Jon Smith; Joshua Harris; Keith Welton; Kenneth Maresco; Mark Mitchell; Matt Maka; Robin Boisvert
Subject: RE: Information and Evidence
To Whom It Concerns at Thaler Liebeler LLP,
Would you please answer an additional question for me? It is one many people at Covenant Life Church are asking. Will you be sharing all the evidence you discover as you discover it with the Montgomery County Police Department (e.g. Detective Sally Magee)? Or do plan to withhold that information from law enforcement under attorney-client privilege?
I’d appreciate a candid response.