This legal notice appears as the result of a binding agreement resulting from Atkinson, et al. v McLaughlin, et al. Case: 1-03-cv-91 Docket: 126 Filed: 11/28/06 in United States District Court filed by Patrick Atkinson, et al. against James McLaughlin and Robert McLaughlin, for Defamation and Tortious Interference, concluded successfully in favor of Patrick Atkinson, et al.
In March of 1998, Patrick Atkinson, acting as program executive director, suspended James and Roberta McLaughlin from the Asociacion Nuestros Ahijados charity in Guatemala for theft of financial documents. Roberta McLaughlin departed from the charity saying she and her husband James McLaughlin were going 'to destroy the (charity) by destroying Patrick Atkinson's reputation' (sworn affidavits by Jannette Reyes et al.).
As a result of successive written, personal and online actions taken by James and Roberta McLaughlin against Atkinson and God's Child, federal criminal charges were filed against the McLaughlins and two Guatemalans that they employed for felony slander, impersonation of government officials, coercion and terrorizing, and interference in interstate commerce.
The McLaughlin's two employees were convicted of criminal misconduct. James and Roberta McLaughlin were subpoenaed but did not appear; moving first to South America and later to Southeast Asia.
Atkinson and God's Child Project subsequently filed civil suit in United States District Court against James and Roberta McLaughlin for damages from slander, defamation and interference in interstate commerce. Atkinson and God's Child Project won this lawsuit and, in the course of questioning, James and Roberta McLaughlin admitted under oath that they acted out of anger and a desire for revenge after having been fired, and had no evidence to support their statements or actions against Atkinson or God's Child Project.
Atkinson and God's Child Project sought and received financial redress from the McLaughlins. After paying expenses, Patrick Atkinson donated the money he received from the McLaughlins to Special Olympics, God's Child Project, and Outward Bound. God's Child Project used the money it received from the McLaughlins for normal operations in the care and education of poverty-stricken families in Central America.
This website, www.GuatemalanChildren.org, formerly belonged to James and Roberta McLaughlin and was used by them to post their admittedly false, slanderous and misleading statements against Atkinson and God's Child Project. This web-site was surrrended by the McLaughlins as part of their settlement in the lawsuit.
This legal announcement has been posted by mutual agreement.
Before and since the McLaughlins actions, Atkinson and God's Child Project have been the recipient of numerous national and international human rights awards and recognitions.
Atkinson is a popular guest lecturer at universities specializing in matters related to health, education, human rights protections, violence against women and children, street gang violence, and human trafficking. He is frequently asked to provide expert court testimony and group training on these topics.
He does not accept invitations from law schools to speak on this specific case and has no public stance on internet law in general.