Judge won't halt airing of GF tapes

Grand Forks Herald/May 29, 1994

BISMARCK - A federal judge has turned down a request to stop the Oprah Winfrey talk show from airing tapes of phone conversations between the pastor of a controversial Grand Forks church and a former member.

The Rev. Renee Julison of the Victory Church sued Winfrey, her production company and NBC, claiming the show obtained tapes of what she said are illegally recorded phone conversations.

Some of the conversations were used earlier this month in a taping of the talk show, but the episode has not aired yet.

U.S. District Judge Patrick Conmy of Bismarck on Friday denied Julison's request for a temporary restraining order to stop the airing of the tapes.

Also named in Julison's lawsuit are former church members Brad and Karlene Croy of Grand Forks and Rick Ross, a cult deprogrammer from Phoenix.

In her lawsuit, Julison claims Brad Croy illegally taped the phone conversation between Julison and Croy's wife.

The Croys are among six former Victory Church members who filed a lawsuit against the church and its pastors last month, claiming they inflicted "intentional and negligent emotional distress and battery."

Julison is seeking more than $100,000 in damages, claiming her phone conversations with Karlene Croy were confidential because they were between a minister and penitent. She claims having their broadcast would subject her and the church to irreparable harm.

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