By: David Bloomberg
Newspaper article, followed by comments:
Tuesday, January 10, 1995
Judge allows picketing
* Peaceful protest: A Thurston County judge rules that "false memory"
activist Chuck Noah's protests are not interfering with anyone's access into
the Church of the Living Water.
By Brad Shannon
A Thurston County judge refused Monday to halt "false memory" activist Chuck
Noah's pickets at the Church of Living Water in southeast Olympia.
Judge Paula Casey said her ruling did not mean that Noah and colleagues could
not be restrained, but that she had not seen proof that pickets had
interfered with anyone's access to the church which is located at 1615
Chambers St. S.E.
Noah, a Seattle man who maintains his daughter was induced by a therapist to
falsely accuse him of child molestation, said he now will resume his picket
work at the church, the state Capitol Campus, Thurston County Courthouse and
the Evergreen Sate college, where a fire last year destroyed some of his
Noah has targeted the Church of Living Water for protest because he says it
is where the daughters of Paul Ingram, a former Thurston County Republican
leader and top sheriff's civil deputy, first brought forth their disputed
claims of ritualized sexual abuse in a bizarre case with overtones of
satanic cult conspiracies.
Ingram confessed to sex counts of child rape and in 1989 was sentenced to 20
years in prison. But Ingram later recanted and is now appealing his
The Ingram case has become a cause celebre among those who believe false
memories of sexual abuse have been implanted during therapy.
A Seattle lawyer, Suzanne Taylor, volunteered to represent Noah for the
American civil Liberties Union, but only on the free speech issue - not on
Noah's claims about recovered memories.
Taylor flatly rejected church claims that people were interfered with in
their exercise of religious rights. Taylor noted there was no evidence
church attendance had dropped off or that members had grounds to fear their
right to reach the church sanctuary was threatened.
I'd like to make a couple of corrections, and comments from my own
observations at the hearing;
The lawyer 's name is Suzanne Thomas, not Taylor, and she was retained by
ACLU to represent Chuck, she did not donate her time as the word "volunteer"
She was spectacular. Chuck and his cohorts speculated the folks at the church
just figured that they'd slap a restraining order on, and that they'd slink
off. Instead, they got determined, and skilled, resistance.
The attorney for the plaintiff was probably just some Joe they had on
retainer, and just wasn't prepared for what he had to face. Thomas quietly
but insistently demolished his every point, and his growing discomfort, and
even disorientation, was apparent. For him, it must have been like one of
those dreams where you're in a public place, and you look down and you have
no pants on. Though the picketers had my support, this guy definitely got my
The victory was not as equivocal as Shannon seems to suggest. As well as I
could interpret the legaleze, the only thing that Thomas didn't get was for
the church to foot her legal bills.
I can only hope that if I ever have to go to court, I will be so well