Porters threaten Tina Swithin with a lawsuit
September 11, 2016
By KAREN VELIE
The parents of a man facing 23 charges related to the sexual abuse of children took the first step toward legal action against their former daughter-in-law Tina Swithin, following Swithin’s public disclosures about her divorce and visitation battles.
On Sept. 7, attorney Dennis Balsamo sent a letter demanding Swithin stop making “slanderous statements” about his clients, Lyle and Margaret Porter, and retract previous comments. Balsamo claims Swithin’s writings and statements have caused the Porters “significant financial harm.”
“On behalf of my clients, who are not public figures, I am stating that you need to immediately cease and desist your defamatory crusade against them,” Balsamo writes. “Should you not stop immediately, I am preparing to draft and file a lawsuit against you.”
Swithin responded by posting a GoFundMe page, which has already raised $8,887 of her $10,000 goal. Donations include $1,000 from actress and model Christie Brinkley who has asked her fans to support Swithin’s “right to free speech.”
“Since my own public battle with a narcissistic personality disorder spouse, I have referred countless women asking me how to survive ‘Divorcing a Narcissist’ to this amazing woman , Tina Swithin,” Brinkley writes on Facebook. “She must be allowed to keep speaking the truth, and providing the assistance that only one who has been thru it can deliver. Please donate whatever you can. When you help Tina, you are helping all women.”
In July, police served a search warrant on the home Jason Robert Porter shares with his parents and found thousands of images and videos that were believed to be child pornography. Investigators have identified at least 17 children and multiple adult women Jason Porter allegedly sexually molested or secretly photographed.
On July 16, Paso Robles Police officers arrested Jason Porter and booked him into the San Luis Obispo County Jail in lieu of $7 million bail.
Also in July, Swithin posted a blog detailing her alleged struggles with the Porter family.
“While I hold my ex-husband, his brother and his father accountable for their evil ways, I find the most fault with their mother who was conscious enough and able to prevent the destruction caused by these men,” Swithin wrote. “Instead, she lied over and over for her family – even under oath when it came time to protect my daughters, her granddaughters.
“Had she not worked so hard to keep the family image perfect and shiny, many lives would have been spared pain and heartache,” Swithin wrote.
Following Jason Porter’s arrest, several families threatened to pull their children from Old Mission School where Margaret Porter was employed as vice principal, sources said.
On July 26, Old Mission School in San Luis Obispo announced that Margaret Porter would no longer be employed by the school. Old Mission School is a part of the Monterey Diocese.
In his letter, Balsamo claims Swithin’s writings and public statements were the cause of Margaret Porter’s termination. In addition to demanding Swithin retract previous statements, Balsamo also ordered Swithin to refrain from writing about Lyle or Margaret Porter in the future.
“We extend to you the deadline of Sept. 17 to effectuate the actions and retraction demanded above,” Balsamo says in his letter. “Should you not act or retract and/or continue with your defaming actions, Mr. and Mrs. Porter are prepared to proceed on this matter as allowed by law, and seek fair compensation for your false and injurious acts.”
On Saturday, Swithin launched her GoFundMe page to raise money to pay for legal counsel.
Following is Swithin’s statement on GoFundMe:
“Please help me protect my right to free speech.
“In 2009, I began divorce proceedings and a child custody battle in pro se. It defied logic at every turn — several therapists told me that my ex-husband had high narcissistic or worse, sociopathic traits. In 2011, I began blogging about my journey and my plight received international media attention. I wrote a series of four books, ‘Divorcing a Narcissist,’ to help others who were following in my footsteps. My own battle ended in 2014 when a Judge called my ex a sociopath (twice) and revoked his visitation completely. Until recently, we were enjoying complete peace from this family until June 28, 2016 when my world was turned upside down.
“My ex-brother in-law, Jason Porter (who was a huge part of my custody battle) was arrested for child molestation and I have been told it is the worst case of child sex abuse that SLO County has seen in 15 years. His bail has been set at an unprecedented $7,000,000. Prior to this story breaking, I worked very hard to protect my ex-husband’s identity and the identity of his family in my writings. Their family has now been thrust into the spotlight due to their son’s arrest and now, they want to silence me.
“Today I received a four-page letter from an attorney in San Luis Obispo County requesting that I cease writing about the family. I need to hire an attorney this week. I have been accused of causing my ex-mother-in-law to be terminated from her job and more. I need to defend myself and to defend my freedom of speech. While I represented myself in family court, I am not qualified to represent myself in this legal matter. I do not have the funds to do this on my own. There are many people around the world who have been helped by my work and I fear that being silenced will take away the world-wide platform that I have created.
“All donations will be channeled directly into my upcoming legal fees. Any funds that are unused will go to my 501(c)3 non-profit organization, One Mom’s Battle (OMB) and will be used to send educational packets to family court professionals. I do not receive payment or compensation for my time or work with One Mom’s Battle – and in fact, no one at OMB receives compensation for their work. We are 100 percent volunteer driven.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am not one who normally asks for help — this has brought me out of my comfort zone but I cannot give up my right to freedom of speech. I will continue to speak out about my plight and the individuals who have placed my children in harms way.”