PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) – A charity that sponsors an African orphanage claims in court that a former volunteer hijacked its website and posted defamatory comments on it, claiming the orphanage “is really just an elaborate vacation home,” and that the group “dupe(s) more and more people into blindly giving away their money.”
The Peace for Paul Foundation sued Andrew Young in Federal Court.
The Portland-based charity claims it has provided care for 33 children at its orphanage in Uganda, since the nonprofit was founded in 2008.
Young, of Portland, worked as a volunteer in 2009 and 2010. “His responsibilities included the design and maintenance of PFP’s online presence,” according to the complaint.
PFP claims it fired Young in March 2011 after a dispute about his handling of the website.
“At this time, Young was administrator of, and had the ability to modify, the PFP site. Young responded by changing the password to administer the PFP site so that only he had access,” the complaint states. “Young then altered the contents of the PFP site with the intent of disparaging PFP and harming its ability to carry out its charitable mission. This altered version of the PFP site is referred to as the ‘Hijacked Site.'”
PFP says the hijacked site was live for 4 days, but it managed to change the password to keep Young off of it. Whereupon, it says, “Young registered two additional domain names, peaceforpaul.com and peaceforpaulfoundation.com (the ‘Infringing Domain Names’). The Infringing Domain Names consist of the PFP Marks followed by the .com suffix. On information and belief, Young himself was and is registered as the owner and administrator of the Infringing Domain Names.”
It claims Young then caused the Infringing Domain Names to take users to a third site, americanmanchild.com, which it calls the “Infringing Site.”
According to the complaint, Young posted this defamatory message on the infringing site: “The American Manchild Association was formed as a direct result of personal experiences with a non-profit organization that mismanaged it’s [sic] funds, stole from volunteers, lost tons of money, abused their ‘sponsored’ children, and leveraged these very same little African children to guilt people into sending more money. This particular non-profit was so good at hiding what was really going on that they have succeeded raising money to purchase land in Uganda for an orphanage that is really just an elaborate vacation home and a means to adopt their favorite little African children. After all of these atrocities and likely more at this point, this non-profit continues to operate and dupe more and more people into blindly giving away their money.”
The foundation says these are “scurrilous accusations” which are “on their face verifiable allegations of fact, and are demonstrably false.”
It seeks punitive damages for defamation, trademark infringement, and violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the Anti-Cybersquatting Protection Act.
It is represented by David Silverman.