A Tea Party Facebook Spat Turned Really Nasty

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Two lawsuits by two former Tea Party Patriots workers claim the group's founders defamed them online with some pretty nasty language, including allegations of rape and child molestation through a fake Facebook account. The site Courthouse News Service noticed the lawsuits earlier on Tuesday, both of which charge Virginia-based Tea Party Patriots founders Jenny Beth and Lee Martin with libel and slander for allegedly writing horrible things about James Lyle and Kylie Kremer on Facebook under the alias Dale Buttersworth. According to Talking Points Memo, "Kremer was listed as an intern in a 2009 on a posting on the Tea Party Patriot's Facebook page, and Lyle is an organizer for the Tea Party Express." Courthouse News summarizes the situation:

Lyle claims that in October 2010, Dale Buttersworth posted on "a public group in Facebook" that "Lyle was guilty of having raped the minor daughter of his girlfriend and was a child molester".
     In her complaint, Kremer claims that on the same day, Oct. 5, 2010, Buttersworth also "asserted that plaintiff Kremer had been raped, reported the rape to the police and was kicked out of her home by her mother and her mother's boyfriend as a result of reporting the rape".
     Kremer and Lyle both claim that Dale Buttersworth is actually Jenny Beth and Lee Martin: "The Internet Protocol Address, cell phone and email addresses on file with Facebook for the user, screen-name of alias 'Dale Buttersworth' belong to both Jenny Beth Martin and Lee Martin," according to both complaints.

Neither the Courthouse News story nor the legal complaint elaborates why the Martins would want to attack Kremer and Lyle online, but regardless of their motive, it looks like a nasty internal fight among members of the right-wing activist group has now turned into a nasty legal one.

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