Whaley appeal hearing delayed until Jan

Daily Courier/November 11, 2004
By Jerry Stensland

Rutherfordton -- Word of Faith Fellowship co-founder Jane Whaley's hearing on her appeal of a misdemeanor assault charge was put off until January after a scheduling conflict with attorneys arose on Wednesday.

Whaley was found guilty in March of assaulting former WOFF member Lacy Wien.

Whaley was not ordered to serve any jail time for the Class 2 misdemeanor, but she must pay court costs and a $100 fine if the appeal is unsuccessful.

Wien said Whaley assaulted her because of Wien's desire to leave the church and have a relationship with her now husband, Ruben, also a former WOFF member.

Wien says the February 2002 incident took place on a Sunday and involved Whaley as other members of the church including Wien's mother.

Lisa Brown, Lacy's mother, was in the room when the assault occurred. Wien secretly left her mother's house and the church for good a week after the incident and jumped in a vehicle to be driven away by Ruben.

It was Brown's testimony that Judge Robert Cilley highlighted in making his ruling.

"The defendant came in and asked if she (Wien) had fornicated with him (Ruben)," said Cilley in summarizing the facts at the time. "It was spoken in a loud voice. I can't hear the love in that. At this point, according to Lisa Brown, the defendant took the plaintiff by the shoulders and tried to get her attention."

Whaley did not testify, but other church members testified that the meeting where the assault took place was beneficial to Wien and those present were just trying to help Wien through a tough time after Ruben had left the church four days earlier.

Wien said Whaley picked her up by the neck and shoulders, leaving bruises, banged her head against a wall several times and held her down on a table while shouting at her. Wien said the meeting lasted for over an hour.

In July, Wien withdrew a civil lawsuit she had filed against the church.

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