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Wednesday April 23rd 2014

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Lashbrook’s Attorney Stresses Innocence

Keith Lashbrook’s attorney is certain his client is innocent of accusations stemming from the Haitian orphanage the missionary oversaw. Children from the facility—and their state-side adoptive parents—have made claims of physical and sexual abuse, and have filed a lawsuit against Globe International Ministries.

“We’re about ready to file a defamation case,” said Ken Brooks, a Milton-based attorney representing Lashbrook.

The IN attempted to contact Lashbrook and his attorney for this week’s story detailing the accusations laid out in the recently filed lawsuit. Getting the message when he returned from a trip, Brooks missed the IN’s print edition.

Lashbrook has no suit filed against him. The suit is filed against Globe International, who worked in conjunction with Lashbrook Family Ministries to run the In the Father’s Hands Children’s Home in Port-de-Piax.

“They’re going after what they think are the deep pockets,” Brooks said.

While the suit is filed against Globe, a Pensacola-based organization, it more specifically addresses the environment fostered by Lashbrook in Haiti. The charges are that staff, and more recently Lashbrook himself, sexually abused children in their care.

Miner Harrell, Globe’s attorney, said his client is innocent. Brooks said the same is true of Lashbrook.

“There’s a lot of things a lot of people aren’t aware of,” said Brooks, who is also representing Lashbrook and his wife, Cindy Lashbrook, in the couple’s legal battle to regain custody of their adoptive children.

The attorney chalked the accusations up to lies and said it was about getting money, as opposed to helping the children. He said he will soon file a defamation suit against “several of the parents.”

“We see this a lot,” Brooks said, adding that the parents had an “axe to grind.” The attorney also said that he would soon “open some doors” and “let people know what truly happened.”

The Lashbrooks, the attorney argued, had been living in a “war zone” and were caring for kids that were abused before arriving at the orphanage. He said Lashbrook—along with both the Haitian and U.S. governments—had already looked into allegations concerning the facility.

“These people are not the monsters they’re being made out to be,” Brooks said.

Similar to Globe International, Brooks distanced his client from Vance Cherry—Lashbrook’s former brother-in-law, a volunteer at the orphanage.

“No, no, no,” Brooks said. “Vance Cherry’s a whole different ballgame.”

The attorney said the Lashbrooks were no longer in contact with “this Vance Cherry fellow.” Cherry and Keith Lashbrook’s sister, Hanna, divorced following his removal from the Haiti facility in 2010.

Brooks said as for his client—Lashbrook—he is sure all accusations will be proven false.

“To tell you the truth there’s not a lot of evidence out there that’s going to be found credible,” he said.