United Cajun Navy Founder Accepts Settlement In Cyberstalking Case
Dec 13, 2019 05:23PM
● By Flint Zerangue, Sr.
(Baton Rouge, La.) Todd Terrell, founder of the non-profit organization United Cajun Navy accepted an injunctive relief arrangement in court Thursday bringing an end to eight lawsuits brought by Terrell seeking permanent restraining orders against the defendants.
Judge Tim Kelley of the 19th Judicial District Court had previously granted temporary restraining orders on the eight defendants, disallowing them from making any further derogatory statements or communicating with Mr. Terrell.
Terrell’s lawsuits claimed that for more than a year he and his organization had been subject to an unending barrage of derogatory statements and allegations of wrongdoing.
According to Terrell, the derogatory rhetoric stemmed from social media posts and electronic messages originating from a Facebook group operating as Cajun Navy Wiki Leaks.
The defendants, all of whom were represented by attorney Jarvis Antwine, included Thomas Bever (Founder of Cajun Wiki Leaks), Melissa Harcus, Kip Coltrin, Jeremy Ellis, Denise Brunson, Deborah Asuncion, Alice Johnson, and Gloria Godwin.
The trial began on December 5th, with Mr. Terrell taking the stand to answer questions presented to him by his attorneys Josh Melder and Greg Akers. With the court deciding to hear all eight cases back to back, Mr. Terrell was on the stand for nearly six hours testifying.
“This whole ordeal has left me terrified and my organization dead in the water—My family and I received so many threatening calls that my parents had to change their phone number after 42 years,” testified Terrell.
Currently, our research finds at least twelve U.S. organizations using some version of the Cajun Navy name. It is our belief that all of these organizations are well intended and that most have helped a lot of people survive, recover, and rebuild in the aftermath of a life-changing event.
With that noted, it is always a good practice to use caution when donating to any organization. When it comes to the twelve Cajun Navy independent affiliates, current IRS records show that only four are officially listed as 501 3-C non-profit organizations.
On Thursday, the trial resumed with the defendants set to plead their case. First up was Ms. Melissa Harcus, a project coordinator with a Florida church and food pantry. Ms. Harcus testified that Mr. Terrell and the United Cajun Navy did not fulfill the vast majority of promises made to provide aid and recovery assistance following Hurricane Michael in October 2018.
“We’re talking about water, food, diapers, and clothing… Mr. Terrell didn’t show up with anything he had promised, so I had to spend nearly $50,000 of my own money to purchase food and supplies to help those poor people…,” testified Harcus.
As the prosecution began cross-examining Ms. Harcus, Mr. Bever stood and asked if he could approach the bench? Realizing there was some confusion, Judge Kelly called for a fifteen-minute recess so the attorneys could talk with their clients. After nearly two hours of discussions in and out of Judge Kelly’s chambers, the court was called to order and it was announced that a settlement had been reached.
Under the terms of the injunction, the defendants will remove all known comments about Mr. Terrell and the United Cajun Navy from the internet within the next two weeks, and the opposing parties have agreed to stop all online posts and comments in addition to ceasing all contact with each other.