The Parker lawsuit against The Way International and its officers was settled in summer, 2002, nearly two years after it was filed.

The Parker and Allen lawsuits were filed against TWI in June and April 2000. The suits were very similar, alleging breach of contract, sexual assault by then-President Loy Craig Martindale, breach of fiduciary duty, conspiracy and fraud. In both cases, the female plaintiffs (who were married) asserted that they were required to submit to sexual assault as a condition of continued employment.

Both cases were settled out of court to the satisfaction of the plaintiffs, and undisclosed amounts of money were paid to the plaintiffs by TWI. The suits had devastating and ongoing effects on TWI, in the areas of finances, membership, recruitment, public embarrassment and resignation of its president.

It is likely that the settlements included requirements that Allen close his popular "Waydale" web site which criticized TWI and published documents which embarrassed TWI, and that TWI was required to stop actions which plaintiffs claimed defamed their character.

What did these lawsuits cost TWI?

Financially, it is likely that TWI paid $500,000 to $800,000 to defend themselves against both suits. TWI employed at least five attorneys from at least two firms (one motion alone listed five attorneys and two firms, and there may well have been others, too). Attorneys wrote a series of motions (such as motions to reject certain counts in the lawsuits), which is typical of the tedious process of litigation. The plaintiffs and primary defendant Martindale had long depositions covering about two days each. Many TWI leaders, who were also defendants, were deposed, including trustees Howard Allen and Rosalie Rivenbark. Four or five lawyers for TWI attended each deposition. The lead attorney for TWI alone, Louis Columbo of Cleveland, probably charges an hourly rate of around $300. Adding research fees and the many other expenses to hourly rates makes defense costs rise steeply.

Settlement payments increased TWI's costs even more. While each suit demanded several million dollars, it is unlikely that settlements were that high, since negations between lawyers would reach a compromise amount. But TWI would have s strong desire to keep witnesses from exposing its inner working and failings in the public venue of jury trials.

These large costs are unusual for TWI, a notoriously money-oriented and cheap organization. Very few TWI employees are paid more than $10,000 a year (leadership and staff are "paid" primarily in the form of bare-bones room and board at TWI campuses; other leaders often live together at off site locations).

While defending these lawsuits likely cost TWI over $800,000, TWI spent only about $345,000 to buy its former Rome City IN campus, and only about $694,000 to buy its former Emporia, Kansas campus (Rome City sold for $750,000, but both campuses were sold at large losses when renovation costs are included in the total). So one may say that Martindale's promiscuity "cost" TWI its campuses, although they were sold because TWI following had dropped so low that the campuses were empty. TWI income dropped dramatically in the last 15 years as its following has dropped to only about 5,000 from a peak of about 40,000.

TWI membership and recruitment has been dramatically affected by the lawsuits. The suits were widely publicized on the Internet and local Ohio newspapers. The Internet especially has led to many defections from TWI and prevented many potential recruits from joining. Many details of the suits were published, from formal documents such as the wording of the complaints, to experiences and personal accounts on ex-Way chat lines. The degree of loss is hard to gauge. However, it is well known that many leaders and followers left largely because of the suits and the way TWI leaders responded to them. At least three sets of Region Coordinators (high level positions held by only a handful of people) left TWI apparently in response to the suits, including Allan and Debbie Licht, Paul and Bev Mosqueda and Tim and Barb Lally. Since TWI is so small and interconnected, it is common for some Wayers to follow their leaders out.

It is impossible to gauge how many potential converts chose not to become (or stay) involved in TWI after seeing information on the Internet, but judging from the large number of hits on anti- and ex-TWI web sites, the number may be very large.

Public embarrassment has also affected TWI. In a day in which sexual assault in the workplace is so widely condemned, it is all the more repulsive to the public that a clergy ("Rev." Martindale) who is the president, chief teacher and spiritual leader of TWI should be accused of sexually coercing a series of women. It is even more embarrassing that top leadership was accused of aiding the sexual harassment.

The most visible effect on TWI was the resignation of Martindale as president. Martindale no longer has any leadership role in TWI. Up until his resignation, Martindale had been nearly worshiped by TWI followers as "The Man of God for Our Day and Time." He taught the videotaped classes (including the required "The Way of Abundance and Power" classes) which were used to initiate and indoctrinate all Wayers. His weekly teaching tapes were purchased by all Wayers, his articles were in every issue of The Way Magazine, he headed the Way Corps leadership training, and was the main figurehead. To have such a prominent leader resign because of moral failure is a huge blow to TWI.

Mrs. Parker has since remarried, is prosperous professionally, and reports that she is much happier now than she was in her 20 years in TWI. This contradicts the common teaching in TWI that all who leave TWI will experience catastrophe soon after.

Dr John Juedes, 2002

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