New Daystar Lawsuit Claims Sexual Harassment

Ministry denies claims by second former employee

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Two months after a lawsuit against the Christian TV network Daystar accused evangelist Joni Lamb's husband of an extramarital affair, a second lawsuit claims her father sexually harassed an employee by touching her inappropriately during what he called "quiet time."

    The new claim, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Dallas, alleged Lamb's father, Bill Trammell, created a hostile work environment at the Bedford ministry, which was founded by Joni Lamb and her husband, Marcus. (Read the entire lawsuit.)

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    "During 'quiet time,' Mr. Trammell would make plaintiff hug him tightly for extended periods of time," the lawsuit said. "He would often put his hands very close to plaintiff's breasts or buttocks during these extended touchings. On more than two occasions, Mr. Trammell told plaintiff to sit on his lap."

    In a statement released late Wednesday, Daystar called the allegations "outrageous" and said ministry attorneys would vigorously defend them.

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    The petition described Trammell as Daystar's "administrative manager of special projects" and said he was married to Joni Lamb's mother, who also worked at Daystar.

    The former employee, Jennifer Falcon, had worked for the TV network for nine years before she was fired in Feb. 2010 -- only a few weeks after she received an "outstanding" rating in a job performance review, the lawsuit said.

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    When Trammell began "talking to her about sexual things during the work day" in 2007, she told him she didn't like it, the lawsuit said.

    "Nevertheless, his inappropriate comments continued," the lawsuit said. "Indeed, they became more and more explicit and more and more personal."

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    By 2008, Trammell told Falcon he wanted to be her husband and that "no one could love her the way he would love her," the lawsuit said.

    Later that year, Trammell had a "secret camera installed outside his office so that he could see if someone was approaching," the lawsuit said.

    Trammell then began calling Falcon into his office for what he referred to as 'quiet time,'" the suit said.

    The lawsuit claimed Falcon viewed Trammell as "a father figure" and asked at least three times to be transferred to a new position so she could have a new boss. Trammell refused, telling her he "was grooming her to take his job when he retired," the suit said.

    In Dec. 2009, the lawsuit claimed Trammell's wife and daughter discovered the relationship after he had visited Falcon's house to bring her soup when she was sick.

    The following day, Joni Lamb demoted Falcon and the following month, her pay was cut -- even though she had received an "outstanding" rating on her performance review just a few weeks earlier, the lawsuit said.

    Falcon was fired in Feb. 2010.

    In its statement, Daystar said Falcon is barred from making claims against the network because she signed "an enforceable termination agreement" in which she "gladly received benefit."

    In the lawsuit, Falcon said she was pressured to sign the document and didn't understand it because she was emotionally distraught.

    The claim was filed by the same Dallas attorney, James Fisher, who sued Daystar in December on behalf of another former employee.

    In that case, Jeanette Hawkins claimed she suffered emotional problems after she was pressured to participate in a cover-up of an affair by Joni Lamb's husband Marcus.

    The case made national headlines when Marcus Lamb confessed to the affair in a broadcast of his television show "Celebration." He and his wife claimed they were victims of a blackmail attempt.

    Bedford police opened an investigation into the allegation but quickly closed it without filing any charges.

    Hawkins' lawsuit is still pending, as is a counter lawsuit the Lambs filed accusing Hawkins and two other women of blackmail.

    Attorney Fisher said he also represented a third former Daystar employee who settled a sexual harassment lawsuit against the ministry last year. Details of the settlement are confidential.

    "The common denominator in all of them is a lack of integrity and a lack of adherence to the moral principles that Daystar purports to adhere to," Fisher said.


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