Couple Sues Media Over Mass Grave Reports
A Liberty County couple has filed a massive libel lawsuit against the Liberty County Sheriff's Department and a bunch news media outlets, over a "psychic's" claim that bodies were buried in mass graves on their property. No mass graves were ever found.
This story started in June of last year when a woman claiming to be a "psychic" named Angel called the Liberty County Sheriff's office saying dismembered bodies were buried in mass graves at a house belonging to Joe Bankson and Gena Charlton. Someone tipped the local newspaper and the media feeding frenzy was on.
More than half a dozen TV news crews and reporters converged on the small house outside Hardin in Liberty County. There were breathless reports of foul odors coming from the property, and the owners' possible criminal histories, but no mass graves or bodies were found.
Now comes Bankson and Charlton with a libel and slander lawsuit against the Sheriff's Department, the DPS, the FBI, all those media outlets, and oh yes, Angel the Psychic. The suit claims loss of reputation, defamation of character, lost wages and mental anguish.
They'll have trouble finding Angel though. She never identified herself to anyone, including law officers. No one knows who she is or where she can be found.
The Liberty County Sheriff's Department was criticized and ridiculed far and wide for paying attention to a self-proclaimed psychic, but the Sheriff defends what they did.
He says any time you hear about something as serious as buried bodies you have to investigate to see if a crime has been committed, or not, no matter where the information comes from. He says they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t.