Liberty Law School and Others Hit With RICO Lawsuit Over Lisa Miller Kidnapping

Yesterday Kenneth Miller was convicted of aiding an international parental kidnapping for the role he played in helping Lisa Miller (no relation) flee the country with her daughter rather than abide by a court order transferring custody to her former partner, Janet Jenkins.

But that was not the only interesting development in the case, as Jenkins has now filed a civil RICO lawsuit [PDF] against Kenneth Miller and several others who allegedly played a role in helping Lisa Miller kidnap her daughter and leave the country, including Liberty University Law School and Thomas Road Baptist Church:

 41. Unbeknownst to Plaintiff Janet Jenkins, in 2009 Victoria Zodhiates (now Hyden) was an employee of Response Unlimited, Inc., and also a "student worker" at Liberty University School of Law. On information and belief, Victoria Zodhiates sent an email during this time period to her co-workers at the law school requesting donations for supplies to send to Lisa Miller to enable her to remain outside the country. Lisa Miller's attorney, Matthew Staver was the Dean of the Law School and Ms. Zodhiates's boss. Matthew Staver and Philip Zodhiates were also personal
acquaintances at this time. On September 20, 2009, both Philip Zodhiates and Victoria Hyden called Lisa Miller's father, Terry Miller in Tennessee to assist in arranging her and Isabella's transportation from a Walmart parking lot in Lynchburg, Virginia, to Waynesboro, Virginia, from whence they would depart for Canada and Nicaragua the next day.

42. In early November, 2009, elders of the Thomas Road Baptist Church packed up the personal belongings of Lisa Miller in two bags. These bags were picked up from Lynchburg, Virginia by Philip Zodhiates who arranged to have the bags transported to Nicaragua by sending them with his son's school teacher who was taking some children on a mission trip to Managua. Philip Zodhiates arranged for the teacher, John Collmus, to deliver the bags at the airport to Timothy Miller. The bags also contained some supplies for Lisa Miller, such as peanut butter.

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47. Lisa Miller's attorneys Mathew Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen also routinely instructed their Law School students that the correct course of action for a person in Lisa Miller's situation would be to engage in "civil disobedience" and defy court orders.

48. Also in 2009, TRBC Head Pastor Jonathan Falwell was among several religious leaders who made a call for "Christian civil disobedience" and published a public declaration, known as The Manhattan Declaration stating that they:

"will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family."

49. Hence, Defendants TRBC and its related ministry Liberty University School of Law encouraged its agents to disregard state laws governing parental rights, particularly Vermont's law giving rights to members of same-sex families. The TRBC and Liberty University School of Law through its public declaration promoted, condoned and explicitly ratified its agent's tortious, racketeering activity. These agents and employees have followed this direction, making TRBC and Liberty University School of Law liable in respondeat superior for the consequences.

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57. At the trial of Kenneth Miller in August 2012, a number of Lisa Miller's friends and supporters testified, including Defendant Wright, and several members of the PIC. When asked if any of them had met or heard of Philip Zodhiates, the answer was no. At the trial, the government introduced phone records that showed phone calls made from Philip Zodhiates's cell phone between 1:28pm and 1:30pm on September 22, 2009, to a cell phone with an Orlando area code that is registered to Liberty Counsel, a landline registered to Liberty Counsel, and a landline registered to Liberty University School of Law. Mathew Staver, Dean of the Liberty University School of Law, splits his time between Lynchburg, Virginia and Orlando, Florida. At the time that the calls were made, Philip Zodhiates was still en route back to Virginia after depositing Lisa Miller and Isabella near the Canadian border.

58. Lisa Miller's attorneys, Matthew Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen have at all times maintained that they did not know their client's location to various courts in Vermont (including in sworn testimony of Rena Lindevaldsen) and Virginia, and to the press that she simply stopped communicating with them and disappeared.

59. Meanwhile, Matthew Staver's acquaintance, Philip Zodhiates, and his daughter Victoria, an assistant in the Law School knew of Lisa Miller's whereabouts and solicited donations from other Law School employees for her aid. Upon information and belief, other law school employees who spoke to Victoria about Lisa Miller's whereabouts were too intimidated to come forward to law enforcement for fear of angering Dean Staver and losing their jobs. During the time that Lisa and Isabella were missing, Dean Staver fired several members of the admissions and financial aid department who were under his supervision. To this day, Victoria Hyden is still an employee of the law school, even though her tortious conduct involving Isabella Miller-Jenkins has been in public court records for over a year. Also, while Lisa Miller and Isabella were missing, Lisa Miller's attorneys continued to press appeals on Lisa Miller's behalf until the last appeals were exhausted in November 2010 (more than a year after she was missing), stating that they had advance instructions from Lisa Miller as to her wishes for the ongoing litigation.

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62. Based on the foregoing, all of the Defendants named herein, in both their individual capacities and as agents of TRBC, Liberty University Law School, Response Unlimited, Inc., and CAM are liable for conspiring with Lisa Miller and with each other to kidnap Isabella Miller-Jenkins, assure her continued detention outside the State of Vermont, and for conspiring with Kenneth Miller to participate in the affairs of the Beachy Amish-Mennonite Brotherhood through a pattern of racketeering activity .. Defendants are also liable for conspiring to violate Janet Jenkins' and Isabella Miller-Jenkins' rights to a parent-child relationship on account oflsabella having two mothers instead of a mother and a father, and Defendant Wright is liable under 42 U.S.C. 1986 for failing to prevent the violation of Plaintiffs' civil rights.

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