From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Jury reaches verdict

Date 20 Jan 1997 19:40:09

"UNITED METHODIST DAILY NEWS" by SUSAN PEEK on Aug. 11, 1991 at 13:58 Eastern,

Note 3380 by SUSAN PEEK on Jan. 20, 1997 at 19:54 Eastern (5406 characters).

SEARCH: Barry Bailey, Fort Worth, jury, sexual misconduct

CONTACT: Linda Green                           26(10-21-71B){3380}
         Nashville, Tenn. (615) 742-5470             Jan. 20, 1997

Jury awards women $3.7 million 
in Barry Bailey civil trial

     Jurors awarded more than $3.7 million Jan. 17 to seven of
eight women who accused former United Methodist pastor Barry
Bailey of sexual misconduct, ending a trial of nearly five weeks.
     Bailey, 70, the former pastor of the 10,500 member First
United Methodist Church, Fort Worth, Texas, was sued collectively
by eight women for $14 million in compensation. Most of the women
were church employees or members.
     The seven-man, five woman jury, which began its deliberation
on Jan. 16, reviewed tapes, psychological examinations and 18 days
of testimony to reach their 11 to 1 verdict. They determined
Bailey had inflicted emotional distress on the women, invaded
their privacy and exploited a counseling relationship. Jurors did
not find that Bailey had publicly defamed the women. 
     The jury had to answer as many as 109 questions but unlike a
jury in a criminal trial, only 10 of the 12 jurors in a civil case
had to agree on a verdict.
     The trial was filled with testimony about late-night
telephone calls, masturbation, sex acts that were alleged to have
taken place between Bailey and three of the women and sex-filled
discussions in his church office. 
     This civil court decision against Bailey comes approximately
two years after the Central Texas Conference of the United
Methodist Church conducted its own nine-month probe into
allegations of sexual misconduct against Bailey.
     When the allegations came to light in August 1994, Bailey
retired after 18 years as pastor of First United Methodist Church.
He complied with request from the Central Texas Conference and
surrendered his clergy credentials in March 1995 rather than face
a church trial. Throughout the ordeal, Bailey consistently denied
any wrongdoing.
     After determining that the "preponderance of the evidence"
was in favor of the eight women the jury awarded the $3.7 million
including $2.5 million in punitive damages, for emotional injuries
Bailey caused the women. 
     The largest individual award, $1.3 million in actual punitive
damages, went to Ginger Pierson, 36, a former staff and church
member who said that Bailey turned a counseling relationship which
began when she was 16, into a 10-year sexual relationship. Her
award included $418,000 in compensation and $882,000 in punitive
     The other individual awards were $106,000 to former church
member Alison Lovett; $642,700 to Cassie Allbaugh, former youth
ministries director of the church; $9,350 to Ruby Woolridge, a
former political candidate; $ 632,700 to Patchez Fox, First
Church's food service director until 1994; $40,500 to Candis
White, the food service director who followed Fox; and $983,500 to
VickiJo Brozovic, former church activities director.
     The jury did not award any money to Jayne Gardner, a
professional counselor whose charges against Bailey occurred in
1991, outside the two-year statue of limitations.  
     John Brozovic, 41, the husband of VickiJo Brozovic and a
member of First Church also sued Bailey and received $1,000 for
marital damages that resulted from a sexual relationship between
his wife and Bailey.
     Broadus Spivey, the Austin attorney for seven of the eight
women told a Fort Worth Star Telegram reporter that the verdict
sent a message even though the monetary award was less than the
$14 million sought. 
     "The message was that they felt this type of conduct could
cause serious harm," Spivey said. He said the verdict tells others
that "when they have suffered a problem to stand up and the
community will stand behind them."
     It is not clear whether the women will see any of the money.
Insurance companies holding policies on Bailey are contesting
their liability for the award.
     U.S. District Judge John McBryde ruled earlier that several
companies are not obligated to pay. That ruling is on appeal to
the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
     This trial was the second within four years involving high-
profile United Methodist pastors in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. A
1993 jury found Walker Railey, a former pastor of First United
Methodist Church in Dallas, innocent of trying to strangle his
wife in 1987.
     Although the verdict freed Railey to start a new life, it
left unsolved a crime that produced tidal waves of scandal and
attracted national attention. During the trial it was revealed
that the popular clergyman had been having an extra-marital
affair. The Rileys are now divorced. His ex-wife is permanently
disabled and totally helpless.     
     The civil trial against Bailey was the first of three suits
brought by the women and can have an impact on how other pending
cases are pursued. The women are also seeking damages from First
United Methodist Church, the Central Texas Conference and the
church's Fort Worth District. 
     Another suit names the South Central Jurisdiction of the
United Methodist Church for damages. The women contend that church
heirarchy was negligent in ignoring complaints about Bailey and
that the church officials breached agreements designed to settle
some of the claims.
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