Pastor slaps members of former church with defamation suit

Ben Hart May 22, 2014, 12:00pm

Members of Emmanuel Bible Church and others are being by a pastor, who claims they spread lies about him.

Gus Bageanis filed a lawsuit May 16 in the Cook County Circuit Court against Joseph Payne, Larry Pilkington and Randy Jaros, individually and as agents for Emmanuel Bible Church, as well as Jaime Garza, Socorro Garza, Jesse Willett, John Heatley, Tino Ojeda Jr. and Marcia Payne.

He accuses them of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy.

According to the complaint, Bageanis served on staff and as a pastor of Emmanuel Bible Church from 1998 to 2010. He then decided to start Village Church and serve as lead pastor in 2007.

Bageanis claims he discovered his ex-wife was having an affair with Ben Payne, the worship leader at Village Church and the son of Joseph Payne, an elder at Emmanuel Bible Church.

He accuses the defendants of conspiring to vote him out of Emmanuel Bible Church, cover up the affair and keep people from attending the Village Church by spreading lies about his reputation, including that he was a wife abuser, thief, murderer, liar, preyed on young girls, and was a dangerous man.

Bageanis is seeking damages in excess of $150,000 and any further relief that the court deems just. He is being represented by North Riverside attorney Frank J. Del Medico of Frank J. Del Medico Ltd.

Cook County District Court Case No. 2014L005262.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the Cook County Courthouse. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note, a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it only represents one side of the story.

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