Alienation of affection suit centers around local prayer group

Burlingtom Times/October 30, 2007

Graham – A Chapel Hill man is suing a local minister for allegedly alienating his wife's affection.

Mark E. Hosler contends that John David Clark Sr., who leads Pastor John's House in Graham, attacked him personally and publicly, causing him not only to lose the affection of his wife, Lee Ann Hosler, but also public humiliation, embarrassment and the loss of his job.

According to a complaint filed Oct. 24 in Alamance County Superior Court, Hosler was introduced to Clark by his former boss, Bob Payne, owner of Cedar Rock Environmental Inc., in 1994. Payne and Clark are relatives by marriage.

Hosler married Lee Ann on Aug. 21, 2001. Throughout their marriage, the complaint said, the couple attended prayer meetings and other religious services at Pastor John's House.

Hosler said that around November 2006, Clark told him that he was "barred" from the prayer meetings. Hosler said he arranged a meeting with Clark by the end of that month to figure out what "he had to do to be welcomed back into the Pastor John's House meetings."

When he got to Clark's office on Bullard Lane in Graham, Hosler found 50 members of Pastor John's House waiting for him. He said he was instructed to sit in a chair in the center of the room while Clark told the group that he had "committed evil," including abusing his wife, Lee Ann, and ruining the couple's 4-year-old son. Clark also made comments about the working relationship between Hosler and Payne.

Despite the incident, Hosler "beseeched" to be allowed back into the group in early 2007 and in March, Hosler was allowed to attend a prayer meeting. Hosler claims that Clark attacked him again during the meeting, telling those in attendance that he was evil and abusive.

Shortly after, Hosler was fired from his job. Hosler contends that Payne fired him because of Clark. He said Payne was going to be barred from the meetings if he wasn't fired.

A week after he lost his job, Hosler and his wife separated. He said Clark told Lee Ann Hosler that he had "the power of God" and that he would not let her husband back into his house.

Hosler claims that Clark's false accusations, out of ill will and personal malice, have caused the affection between him and his wife "to be alienated and destroyed." Clark's comments have also damaged Hosler's personal and business reputation.

He is asking for a jury trial, attorney's fees and at least $10,000 in punitive damages. He is also asking for three times the cost of damages he actually suffered.

Clark denied Hosler's allegations during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. He said he was "blind-sided" by them.

"I've never been in a situation like this before," he said. "I am praying about it." He added that he will be contacting an attorney to file a response in the near future.

"I am sorry that the situation has developed like this," Clark said. "My hope is that all parties can be reconciled. I'll do what I can to achieve that."

Clark said Pastor John's House refers to prayer and Bible study meetings that he leads at his home and at other people's homes.

"It's just a group of families who meet in my house to read the Bible and praise the Lord," he said.

The group's Web site,, describes it is a place "where the saints around here get together."

"Jesus has called us out of Christianity so that we can better understand God and serve Him more acceptably," a message on the site said. "This Web site is not against Christians or anyone else; instead, it is for everybody."

One of the letters posted on the site said that Clark attended Oral Roberts University's School of Theology.

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