UPDATED: Ave Maria prof’s pattern of alleged sexual slander exposed

Updated Oct. 6, 2018:

We have taken down our article about Raiger and Ave Maria for now. We do not think the threat, below, has legal merit, but because it is a Saturday afternoon and we are currently at the beach celebrating our 21st anniversary and do not need this horseshit, we will return to this issue after we have had time to consider our legal options.

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Here’s the letter we received today from Ricardo Reyes on behalf of Ave Maria University:

Simcha Fisher and Damien Fisher:

Please be advised that that our law firm represent Ave Maria University, Inc. (“University”).  This correspondence is addressed to you as operators of the blog located at www.simchafisher.com and as the authors of the libelous article published on the blog entitled “Ave Maria prof’s pattern of sexual slander exposed”.  Demand is hereby made that the entire article be retracted and removed from the internet, and that you cease and desist from publishing any further libelous remarks.

While the article contains the self-serving claim that Michael Raiger did not “cooperate with the story”, it is obvious someone acting on Raiger’s behalf provided his prior statements to you, and the article is intended to disparage the University during the pending litigation.   Also, the reference to “sexual slander” is an irresponsible and outrageous attempt to sensationalize Raiger’s false claims.   We understand that Mrs. Raiger’s have been in communication with defrocked former priest Mark Gruber (a person known to have made similar assertions when accused of possessing child pornography) as part of their continued confrontation against the University.  We intend to investigate Gruber’s involvement in the publication of this libelous article.

In the article, you have republished several defamatory remarks made by Raiger against the University and professor Travis Curtright.  Even more troubling is that you have published a number of false claims as fact, beyond the quotes attributed to Raiger.  For example, your assertion that the University’s counsel acknowledged the claims against Curtright is false and a complete fabrication on your part.  As you are aware, Raiger’s allegations against professor Curtwright were never proven or corroborated (even though, under Florida law, to suggest someone may or may not be homosexual does not constitute slander).  By publishing Raiger’s false claims as your own factual statements, you are liable for defamation per se.

It is evident that you seek to assist Raiger in tortuously interfering with the University’s affairs.  Raiger’s false claims against Curtwright are part of a continuing effort to injure the University’s reputation because of Raiger’s long standing opposition to the University’s administration, in particular, President Jim Towey.  If you had actually undertaken any investigation, you would have discovered not only that Raiger’s self-serving claims against Curtright were never substantiated, but also that the professor who Raiger was supposedly protecting admitted to having inaccurate information on his CV, and had allowed a male student who stayed at his home to grade his exams.  Also, you would have learned that Raiger engaged in a series of overt acts of insubordination designed to undermine the administration before his employment ended with the University.    Moreover, the debt secured by the mortgage on Raiger’s home matured upon the termination of his employment and is properly due to the University.  There was no retaliation against him.  By omitting these facts from the article, and juxtaposing facts to create false impressions, you are also liable for defamation by implication.

Accordingly, if you fail to retract the libelous article or refuse to cease and desist from further conduct, will proceed to bring legal action against you for libel and tortious interference.  If such an action is brought, you may be liable for compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief.

GOVERN YOURSELVES ACCORDINGLY.

 

Ricardo A. Reyes

225 N.E. Mizner Boulevard

Mizner Park Office Tower, Suite 510

Boca Raton, Florida 33432

561 620 0656 office

561 620 0657 fax

561-416-1442 direct

561-716-6434 cell

 

 

 

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36 thoughts on “UPDATED: Ave Maria prof’s pattern of alleged sexual slander exposed”

  1. Bravo, Kristin, to everything you have been saying. This article was slander disguised as journalism. It was pretty appalling/saddening that a Catholic writer would willingly publish something like this and spread it across the web.

  2. Agree, disagree., whatever. I think that insecurity abounds in those that make fun of someone’s grammar in a comment. Pathetic. Stay on topic idiot, instead you just have to throw out one more insult.

  3. I want to give some support to Kristin here. She’s right. Simcha and Damien have tried to have it both ways on this blog, and it doesn’t work like that—you don’t get to intersperse cutsie stories about parenting with savage assaults on people’s characters and reputations. If you’re gonna try to use your blog for amateur scandal-mongering, you have to expect that someone’s gonna bite back at some point. Not everyone is as nice or as Christ-like as Timothy O’Donnell.

  4. Reyes’ letter is as damning and revealing of the truth as the original story they asked this blog to take down.

    Ave Maria University did everything they could to smear the name of Blanford Parker. And the letter shows how they did it, over the years, almost systematically. They attacked him for this lying on his CV (not true), they spread rumors of FERPA violations (not true), and, when this didn’t work, they attemped, at the highest levels, to suggest homosexual behavior and violation of his relationships with students. Absolutely not true.

    When anyone tried to call AMU out on their treatment of Blanford, they were served with, you guessed it, threats of litigation. They are bullies.

    The facts of Raiger’s case are true. This letter shows how scared they are of it. They are hoping they can bully everyone. What a Catholic college!

  5. Damien and Simcha need to stop playing at investigative journalism. They are no good at it, and should leave it to the professionals that don’t get fired. Have any of these naive attempts at investigation resulted in anything of substance? No follow through with the Christendom posts, just argybarginess draped in 5th grade journalism class language.

    1. Yeah, I am sorry about that. We’ve had a number of personal responsibilities that have put the weekly podcast onto the back burner. When you pledged, you should have received an email within the password to unlock the archives. Thanks for your patience! Podcasts should resume soon.

  6. I know this is serious. Look at the crap the Righteous Catholic Colleges have pulled with Donna.

    But I had to laugh a bit. “GOVERN YOURSELVES ACCORDINGLY.”

    1. No college pulled any “crap” with Donna. She was sued, in her own defamation case, by an individual. Not an employee or affiliate of any college.

  7. False accusations are pretty common these days. From Rolling Stone to some of Mr Avenatti’s clients. They do so much harm to the very causes they seek to help that they should prosecuted with the same degree of as the crime itself, but they are not. Instead they are usually brushed under the rug, a fatal flaw in the current response to the serious injustices we are trying to blot out. If this is true, then it is very serious.

    1. … They sit at around 2% false, according to the FBI. Someone is far more likely to just not report their rape rather than lie about it. Hell, you’re more likely to be pressured by the police to drop it than you are too have falsely reported it.
      Did you also know there’s a profile for people who falsely accuse people of rape, but no such profile for people actually raped? And that almost none of the recently accusers, if any, fall within that profile??
      If you’re really as into this subject as you pretend, you should really do the accompanying research. There’s a lot of reasons why people are believing these women, besides political reasons..
      Aka
      Believe women, even if you don’t agree with them. The chances that they’re lying are vanishingly small…

      1. “Believe women, even if you don’t agree with them.”

        How about this: I believe in the innocence of an individual until they are proven guilty. I believe that the burden of proof lies with an accuser, not the accused. I believe that the topic you are referring to has lots of reasons to call for skepticism: named witnesses denying knowledge of the events, changing testimony, refusal to admit evidence, no previous criminal conduct or supporting patterns of behavior… etc. etc. etc.

        If we condemn an accused simply because they are accused, then we are a banana republic. False accusations do happen, and the statistical occurrence is irrelevant when looking at the case in its own merits. I’ll drop this little reminder here for you: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_lacrosse_case

  8. And I realize the lawsuit is against Ave, but the personal , attacking allegations are toward an individual who is at the center of the lawsuit therefore.

  9. Well, that’s officially the oddest thing I’ve read all day…

    I didn’t attend school there, and I don’t know anyone who attends or attended school there. No dog in the race. But if this is true…weird, weird, weird.

  10. Thank you, very much, for reporting on this. I was a literature major at Ave during some of this time period. I took classes from Raiger and the two professors who you refer to, and the two professors who you refer to as being on the receiving end of many of Curtright’s insults were two of my favorite professors, ever. I am so sad and frustrated that a place like Ave, where I met my husband and had so many wonderful experiences, was such an awful place to so many of the faculty that truly helped form me into the person I am.

    While I was a student, Curtright became a HUGE deal among a certain group of students for his Shakespeare in Performance classes and they were a very, weirdly devoted group. The students worshiped him and basically followed him around for months during that time; something that was so averting to me that I avoided that whole crowd for the rest of my time at the university. It was odd and unnatural to me that a grown man obviously needed the validation of a following, so he taught a class that created his followers. Curtright became the poster-boy of the literature department following the success of Shakespeare in Performance and is now front and center in the university’s marketing. Bleh!

    After I graduated, the literature department fell apart and none of the professors that I had continued to teach there. You’ve brought me some clarity as to why all of those professors made the decision to leave and I am forever saddened that such a truly brilliant group had to undergo this type of treatment while they were offering so many of us invaluable insight and knowledge.

  11. Sounds like a man with borderline personality disorder and AMU is not equipped to deal with it. Usually in these situations, those is charge remove persons involved who are making noise but are easier to manage. The real problem is too hot to handle, so they just try to smooth everything over, hoping the problem will eventually go away. The college should probably get outside help and we should pray that it does.

    I’ve seen this kind of thing in my extended family. I have a relative that is unstable and causes major problems in the family. She will go where other people in charity won’t, so everyone just leaves her alone for the most part. She could cause a nuclear explosion if engaged. Our family could use outside help, but the troubled person would not cooperate. We’re all the problem and she’s fine.

    1. As an Ave Alum that attended the University at the time that many of the actions described in this article are alleged to have occurred, I can say with certainty that the article’s characterization of Dr. Curtright is simply wrong. Dr. Curtright is a passionate and dedicated scholar, and while he certainly has his quirks and mannerisms there is nothing about them that takes him outside the realm of normal human interaction. The man is a beloved mentor of mine, the Godfather of my firstborn, and a friend for life.
      Lest you all dismiss me immediately as biased, I would like to say that I also took many classes with the other members of the Ave Maria University Literature Department. I loved each of their classes, each of them became beloved mentors of mine, and I have sought to remain friends with each of them as I progress into adult life. It causes me deep and abiding pain to see any of them at odds, but this article is an unconscionable attempt at character assassination and for that reason I shall not remain silent.
      When you set aside the rhetoric and innuendo, this article and the allegations contained therein fall apart completely. “Kate” is right: the man described in the article by Mr. Fischer does sound like a “man with borderline personality disorder.” However, the man in the article is not Dr. Curtright, who has taught with passion, raised children with love, and compassionately advised those that look to him for guidance.
      I don’t know whether the allegations in Dr. Raiger’s report are true. I don’t believe that they are, and my reason for that belief is that these actions stand in total contrast to the character of the man that I have grown to know and admire over the last ten years. I also don’t know whether the allegations that Dr. Curtright allegedly made are true. I hope not, but I’m not in a position to comment. I know what professors taught at the school before, I know that AMU investigated several matters similar to those described in this article, and I know what professors are still at the university, teaching and in good standing. That tells me a lot, even if it doesn’t boil down to the factual specifics of each matter.
      I hope and pray that God will see fit to make the right and wrong clear in this situation because it fills me with sorrow to see any strain or struggle, much more vile animosity, between these people that I love and respect.

      1. To my understanding: the university appointed a panel of 3 professors to investigate the claims of slander and the panel determined that the professor did indeed slander his peers and his students, and that he should be punished, but instead the slander was swept under the rug, and the whistleblower, and the victims of the slander, and 2 of the panel members were all treated like pariahs by the university administration and effectively pressured into leaving or fired. Meanwhile the school doubled down in making the alleged slanderer its star academic.

        Young people are often not the best judges of character, and it really stinks if they pick a malicious slanderer as a godparent for their child. Sometimes it’s hard to see the truth about a person when so much is invested in seeing them as a hero.

        1. While I appreciate your baseless attack on my character and prudence almost as much as I appreciate your chosen pseudonym, I think it’s important to note that you have not presented anything resembling “evidence” for your claims.

          There is no document or testimony that I am aware of that in any way supports your claim that the university’s investigative panel found Dr. Curtright “guilty” of anything. To the extent that Dr. Raiger’s complaints in his pending lawsuit hint that this is the case, please note that those are un-adjudicated allegations, not facts.

          I do not know who you are or what drives you to behave this way, anonymously, on the internet, but I pray you find happiness and peace. I live my life in the light, for better of for worse, and you have no power over me.

          1. I spoke with a panel member – that’s why I feel very comfortable posting publicly about it. Most everyone in Ave Maria is afraid to speak on the record negatively about the school – except Dr. Raiger. The administration comes down severely on anyone who has an unapproved independent thought.

  12. I am trying to figure out what the heck is your obsession with taking down this professor? God help you if one of your sons or husband is ever accused of crap like this with as little evidence as you have put forth here – basically hearsay.

    You are , according to the Church, committing a form of murder of this man’s reputation for spreading such a story with no proof. I have heard several stories of your extended family. Simcha , and I would never pass on one of them bc a/ there is no proof and b/ I am assuming there is another side to what I have heard and wold never present anything I heard publicly without hard cold evidence – Or if I thought someone’s safety were in imminent danger. Simcha…what goes around, comes around…steady yourself. Is it really worth your soul just to get a few more hits on a little blog?

    1. Holy moly, “steady yourself?” Are you threatening the author’s wife? That does not really seem like a Christian response, regardless of how ticked off you are about this.

      Additionally, if you are accusing someone of a particular sin it’s usually poor form to match that sin. Especially by making even more vague accusations about the family of the author’s wife.

      Finally, I think it’s probably also ill-advised to be condemning someone to hell. Your name seems to be Kristin, not God Almighty.

      1. Hmmm – you do not know what “steady yourself” means – It means the same as – take a deep breath, take a step back, think about this before you continue on this path. CALM the flip down.

        It is not a threat – it is a call to try an empathy exercise. Simcha ( like many of us) has lots of family skeletons – imagine if people started going after relatives with twisted, badly magnified versions of some of their trespasses..God help me if anyone started trying to come after me for things I may have said in anger, with a couple of glasses of wine in me or in fed up disgust…..Not always at our best in such situations. Human charity hopes when the person calms down they will realize the lack of charity in their words. As long as we are not letting those words fester into unjust , hurtful acts ( which, if he said them, they have not moved into any such thing) ….then let it go. Like you would want others to do for you and yours. Sheesh. There is no story here except he said he said. But you want those hits ..you have given a new meaning to the expression “hit job”

    2. If you read the article, it is actually written by her husband and professional reporter, Damien. Also, this material is all publicly available given that one of the parties is suing. It will be determined by the court if there is any merit to these allegations of gross misconduct and an attempt at covering them up by the university leadership. Catholic universities should hold themselves to a higher standard and thank goodness the Fishers have opted to make them publicly accountable to us.

      Better they do it than other media outlets who would relish another opportunity to make hay of the rank hypocrisy in our institutions.

    3. Wow, Kristin. Reading comprehension skills need some work.

      I think you only read part of the article. You skipped the part where the author (SURPRISE! You skipped the byline) did actually verify the parts of the story that can be corroborated. So…. no, this is not character assassination. This is what’s called NEWS. Which is what journalists DO. They report what’s happening, even if it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

      Don’t be an asshole. And really, REALLY. Don’t threaten people’s families. That’s just shitty.

      1. I did no such thing – I said the opposite – I said I would never do to Simcha what she ( well, He it turns out – when you go to a woman’s blog , you expect it to be the woman writing. ) is trying to do here. I said the opposite of harming her by twisting family sins – Opposite – As in, I wouldnever….I think you are the one who needs to read more carefully.

        No, nothing is corroborated . It is allegations by an angry professor . And the allegations , IF they are true , are worthy of a fraternal correction. IF they are true – HOw will that ever be proven?

        Are you kidding me? You have never had a friend speak too heatedly or inappropriately? Have you never done so? Wow – more power to you if that is the case.

        Listen, it comes down to this: the Fischers are either a/ desperate for blog hits or b/ angry at God so trying to take down some good Catholic Institutions to release their angst. I am all for rooting out evil people. People harming others. In that regard, Mr Curtwright is not guilty . And the Fischers …are.

        1. Hiya, Kristin.
          Your inability to spell Damien and Simcha’s last name, and your obvious lack of caring about reading the details will be ignored at this time.

          Instead I am here to offer something like fraternal correction — which act of Christian kindness is supposed to be done privately, and so no Christian should ever expect to get away with that shit on a blog comment, so I can’t call it that — but anyway please STEADY YOURSELF.

          When you write “I know things about you that I would NEVER say publicly”, you are doing one of two things.

          Possibility (1) is that you are ignorant of how threatening and passive-aggressive this statement is when published online, and you are mistaken in your method of delivery to the point of injury because it came off as threatening at worst, and nasty at best. So you would owe her an apology and should examine your writing more carefully before sending it to a public venue.

          Possibility (2) is that you are being passive-aggressive and/or nasty. Perhaps even under the guise in your own mind of doing an act of mercy. Just because you label something charitable, or “fraternal correction”, doesn’t mean it actually is; the Devil loves to clothe evil in religious language. You owe her an apology and a visit with your confessor to examine your conscience.

          Of course, another way to understand this is to please note that I mentioned your other failings at the beginning of this post, while claiming *not* to be mentioning them. FYI that is what you did in your post. It’s bratty and says the criticism while still pretending not to be and maintaining your sense of righteousness. Another tactic of Satan is to help us stay fuzzy about stuff like that.

          GOVERN YOURSELF ACCORDINGLY.
          Have a nice day, JMJ, etc.

          1. Haaaa – Just reading this. Umm. Yeah. So, believe it or not, through mutual friends of their families and a UD and other college connection,I learned about Simcha’s blog several years ago. I became interested in Simcha in particular, first, because (at the time) I found her blog hysterical ( in a good way) and well written . I started to ask more questions when I would get together with our mutual friends and I heard some interesting stories some of which might be classified as “skeletons” . ( NB – this is not a veiled threat or PA anything, we allll have skeletons no doubt) . They were not of a nature similar to the baseless attacks on Dr Curtwright, but they were still stories probably best left “un-spread.”

            Which brings me to my original comment. We all have foibles, mistakes, blemishes, family secrets, bad choices, tipsy rants, etc that are better left in the hush hush . For the sake fo charity. Got that? CHARITY – Now, if someone is harming another in a serious and provable way, perhaps outing the transgressor is necessary, even good.

            But aside from those situations, one only brings up allegations that do not even amount to any great harm, and have no real proof, except to harm the character of the accused or if they are perhaps seeking attention( aka blog hits) . That is what this whole Curtwright nonsense is. I am guessing the latter. Or the angry at God thing I mentioned in my previous post.

            This whole ugliness is too similar to the ice throwing, alcohol vomiting Kavanaugh allegations that it is almost comical – except it isn’t. Because yet another man’s life and reputation are under attack for a “he said- she said” crock of crud. Shame shame shame.

            I would not want anyone posting allegations of poor judgment by me and mine – OR by Simcha, Damien or their families if it would seriously damage their reputation or livelihood. Hence me “I would never tell tales” remark. Does that make sense? ( OK, that last question was actually said with some passive aggression. Mea Culpa. )

    4. Spreading a story with no proof? Like, reporting on the existence of a civil lawsuit is somehow lacking in proof? It’s a lawsuit. It’s a matter of public record.

      The article doesn’t state that the allegations of the lawsuit are true, just that there is a lawsuit with these allegations.

      1. Do you realize, Sir, that your neighbor could allege you made inappropriate or threatening remarks to her ….at any time? She could file a lawsuit against you – it is her right. When used honestly, thank God for such rights.

        If she did this to you – alleged terrrible things you did or said about her and to her ( and btw, she can get a restraining order on you with one phone call…and NO proof) – and opened a law suit – Do you think it is wise, holy, moral or helpful for some random bloggers to start writing pieces painting you as a questionable character? Quoting the terrible ( false) accusations this woman has made against you and putting it ut or thousands to see in print?

        Well, I think it not – having a lawsuit drawn up against a person is bad enough ( if false, which it very well may be) – Having a blogger spread it around, again , with NO HARD PROOF….dragging the acused’s name through the mud simply bc someone alleged he said things he should not….Heinous. We reap what we sow.

        1. It’s actually a lot harder than that to get a restraining order, believe it or not. I had a legitimately abusive partner, who had injured me, who they wouldn’t give me a retaining prefer against. They make you go up before a judge and “prove” that you have reason to fear this person…. And if you don’t have proof for any of what you say… As in you have no recordings, or chat logs, they deny the restraining order. I mean, I suppose it might be different in every state, but assuming the other party automatically lives in a state where such a thing could happen is showing your ignorance about the topic (at best… Or it could be read as malice and threatening, if one was feeling uncharitable)
          How about you stop judging people, and stop telling people what to do with their lives? Isn’t judging people and telling them how to live a job for someone else?

          1. Umm – that is not the case in any of the situations I know of -I think you are correct, it is state by state. But , from the several lawyers with whom I have spoken about this, what you experienced is less common. As for judging people, Bleep – are you kidding? The whole reason for my comment is precisely bc UNKIND judgments are being made against an innocent man by the Fishers.

            And just to be clear – you are telling me how to live ( not judging) and judging me ( by insinuating I am judgmental) as you tell me not to tell others how to live and not to judge.

            Just sayin………

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