The romance author Nicholas Sparks again defended himself Thursday against allegations in a long-running lawsuit that alleges he defamed the former headmaster of his private Christian school in North Carolina by telling people the man had dementia.
The suit was first brought by Saul Hillel Benjamin in 2014, a little more than a year after he was hired to run The Epiphany School of Global Studies at New Bern, near the North Carolina coast. It alleged that Benjamin was forced out of the job because of a Jewish follower of Quakerism who worked "to recruit black students and faculty" and "supported a bullied group of gay students."
Most of the suit was dismissed in 201
Benjamin alleged the complaints were a pretext for his firing, which he said violated federal law.
A federal judge last year dismissed all the counts in the lawsuit alleging the allegation of religious discrimination against Benjamin and all alleged retaliation for his attempts to diversify the school.
The remaining counts Benjamin to resign involuntarily, sparks and others defend him from spreading rumors he had dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
The emails and their contents have been the Subject of news reports going back to 2015.
"The article appears in today's The Daily Beast is not news, and repeats false accusations and claims made against Epiphany and me, and largely ignores the overwhelming evidence we have submitted to the Court, "Sparks, the author of numerous bestsellers that have sold more than 100 million copies, said in a stateme nt Thursday.
"I am pleased that the Court has dismissed nearly every claim against me, my Foundation and Epiphany," he said. "Very importantly, the Court has dismissed all claims of discrimination or harassment against me."
After efforts to settle the case failed, trial on the remaining counts is set for Aug. 14 in U.S. Pat. District Court in Raleigh, North Carolina.