Church Sues Woman Who Posted Bad Google Review

Pastor Chuck O’Neal of the Beaverton Grace Bible Church is suing Julie Anne Smith for $500,000 after she posted a negative review on Google and DEX in which she claimed the church shunned her for no reason. Pastor O’Neal is going after Smith for defamation.

The lawsuit was filed in March and Smith told KATU

“I thought, I’m just going to post a review. We do it with restaurants and hotels and whatnot, and I thought, why not do it with this church?”

Smith goes on to say the pastor instructed the church to shun her:

“If I went to Costco or any place in town, if I ran into somebody, they would turn their heads and walk the other way. All we did was asked questions. We just raised concerns. There’s no sin in that.”

In her review Smith wrote:

“What we had was indoctrination… That is how cult leaders work,” and “Don’t waste your precious lives and relationships being held emotionally/spiritually captive by this so-called church.”

Smith didn’t end her review of the church there, writing that the:

“Beloved pastor knew about a sex offender in the church who had access to the nursery and children on a weekly basis and did not have any safeguards in place.”

While she ended with:

“This is a very destructive and disturbing ‘church.’ … The exra-Biblical legalistic teaching is wrong. The gossip/slander, disclosure of what goes on in private counseling sessions, sex offenders have free reign in childrens’ [sic] areas with no disclosure to parents. … This is not a safe place.”

The lawsuit goes after three other commenters as well as Smith’s daughter and in its 54-page lawsuit Beaverton Grace Bible Church says Julie Anne Smith used words that included “creepy” and “cult” along with “control tactics” and “spiritual abuse.”

Beaverton Grace Bible Church currently has a one and a half star rating on Google.