Trinity Broadcasting Network settles "harassment and discrimination" lawsuit with gay former employee
Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH
The Orange County Register reports on its Watchdog blog:
A confidential settlement has been reached between a gay broadcast engineer and his former employer, Trinity Broadcasting Network.
Brian Dugger sued Trinity last March, claiming he was harassed and discriminated against by employees of the world's largest Christian broadcasting empire.
Paul Crouch Jr. allegedly taunted Dugger with pornography, said TBN was no place for fairies and declared that 'Brian has a man-gina!' "
In court paperwork, Crouch said those things never happened.
Dugger began working as a broadcast engineer for Trinity in Nashville in 1993, and grew "exceedingly close" to Paul Crouch Jr.'s daddy, Paul Crouch, the suit said. When TBN headquarters moved to Southern California, the senior Crouch insisted that Dugger come, too; but once here, the senior Crouch became less involved with the station, while wife Jan and son Paul Crouch Jr. took the reins.
Soon after his transfer to Tustin in 2001, Dugger was told not to dress so gay or to wear jewelry, to act more straight and to pay attention to girls, it said. "Brian has a man-gina!" Paul Crouch Jr. allegedly taunted Dugger (in front of a live video camera and a crowd of TBN workers). The junior Crouch (that's him at right) also sent Dugger explicit pictures of genitalia - male, female and transsexual - as well as explicit images of copulating couples and other pornography, the suit said.
Dugger claimed that he was denied promotions, raises and responsibility because of his sexual orientation, and ultimately forced into a "sham independent contractor relationship" with TBN, so the network could keep its distance from him. That deprived him of the benefits afforded to employees under California and federal laws, the suit said.
The suit was originally filed in Orange County Superior Court, but then moved to federal court. Dugger sought at least $1.9 million in punitive damages; $650,000 in general and special damages (lost wages and benefits, emotional distress); as well as statutory damages.
Dugger's attorney, Tymothy MacLeod, said he could not discuss the terms of the settlement.
In 1994, $425,000 was paid to silence allegations of a gay tryst involving the senior Crouch and an employee. The senior Crouch denied it happened.