May 14, 2021
All attorneys, including Bill Reel and Nadine Mccombs Hansen, know that charges filed with Human Rights Commissions and claims made during civil litigation are regularly amended as the matters proceed. It is important for the public to also have this understanding in order to comprehend what transpired on Mormonism Live.
The initial charge I filed with the Human Rights Commission of New Hampshire is not the charge John Dehlin and the Open Stories Foundation need to overcome to prove that what occurred between John and myself was only a consensual “affair” between two people who had equal power and equal influence over the Open Stories Foundation board of directors.
As I sat across from my attorney that day we were writing my initial charge, my attorney and I spoke about my objective: namely, to create documentation so that I had some semblance of power. I had begun to experience extreme mental health difficulties after John podcasted “Faith Reconstruction” in early 2013. John had the power of his podcast to weave any public narrative he wanted and had done everything he could think of to do to silence me. My attorney and I talked about how my extreme powerlessness in the matter was having a deleterious effect on my mental health and how I had sought his help in order to document what was happening in an effort to increase my power and therefore to improve my mental health.
It definitely worked. Hiring my attorney immediately set me on the path to recovery.
In New Hampshire, sexual harassment charges have a six-month statute of limitations. I filed my charge on the last day of that statute of limitations and my attorney and I were under time pressure to get it written and sent to the Commission.
Under the pressure of time, my attorney and I decided on a gentle charge that neither of us felt really great about because I had shared more of what really happened with him. We decided to go with that charge because, at the time, I still wanted to protect John from public shame if the charge were, for some reason, to go public. We agreed that the initial charge would be sufficient to meet my objective of creating documentation in that it would force the Open Stories Foundation to give us a written response. We spoke about how if things progressed beyond documentation, we would amend the charge to something we felt better fit the actual circumstances of what occurred between me and John.
The Open Stories Foundation’s response to the charge was another step in my change in thinking about the extremity of John Dehlin’s manipulations over me and the public. Until that point in time I had far over-estimated his integrity and benevolence. While I had intentionally written a gentle charge to protect him from shame should it go public, John and the Open Stories Foundation had prepared an almost non-sensical response that appeared as if its primary intention was not to answer the charge but to publicly shame me.
My attorney looked at the Open Stories Foundation’s response and listened to my horrified reaction to it and said something like, “I wondered if you’d respond that way. I think that’s how John meant for you to respond.” My attorney knew a lot more about how litigation and settlements proceed than I did at the time, so he explained how he came to that conclusion. He explained that John had hired a Utah attorney to help with a New Hampshire matter and that in Utah, Human Rights Commission filings are public while in New Hampshire they are private. He explained that John’s Utah attorney must not know that in New Hampshire the Open Stories Foundation’s response would be a privately held document. He explained that John’s attorney had emailed the response directly to him rather than simply filing it with the Human Rights Commission and had asked to settle because they knew it to be a defamatory response and because they believed that their defamatory response would be a public document. He called their response an intimidation strategy meant to force me to settle in order to protect my public reputation.
He then advised me to not give into the Open Stories Foundation’s intimidation strategies, simply refuse to settle and tell the Open Stories Foundation that they were welcome to file their response.
The Open Stories Foundation then went forward and sent their response to the Human Rights Commission as was expected of them. I then asked my attorney if the Open Stories Foundation had improved their response to make it stronger. I was a bit surprised when he told me that they hadn’t. It never seemed like a serious response to the matter or like something we would not be able to overcome by amending the charge and moving forward. It was always a sham meant to hurt me.
However, we never moved forward to amending because I was never able to get an investigation due to the fact that the Open Stories Foundation did not pay some of their other podcasters enough for them to even get 1099s. Thus, the Open Stories Foundation did not have the six employees required by law for charges to be filed with the Human Rights Commission of New Hampshire.
Regardless, the initial charge Bill Reel, Nadine Mccombs Hansen, and Natasha Helfer evidently presented on Mormonism Live (I still have not watched and never intend to) is not the charge the Open Stories Foundation needs to overcome to defend itself. Rather, that response was meant to publicly shame me on Mormonism Live in 2021 just as it was an intimidation threat when the Open Stories Foundation’s attorney sent it to my attorney via email back in 2013.