On June 29, 1994 Jon Michael Bell, a former reporter hired to investigate Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church by Stauffer Communications, Inc.,filed a lawsuit in Shawnee County District Court in Topeka, Kansas against Stauffer Communications alleging the Topeka Capital-Journal owed him compensation for overtime and to clarify ownership of his notes and work product. The work product in question, "Addicted to Hate" chronicling the life and times of Fred Phelps, was attached to the lawsuit as Exhibit A making it, therefore, a public document. Learning of the suit, members of Topeka's anti-Phelps underground delivered a certified copy of the lawsuit to a copy shop near the courthouse.

Within 48 hours, Stauffer Communications had written all area media outlets and issued veiled warnings about using the information contained in "Addicted to Hate". A rival Topeka newspaper, the Metro News, announced it was considering publishing the lawsuit in it entirety. The Kansas City Star abided by Stauffer Communication's wishes, but several other media outlets aired or printed portions of the manuscript. Within 48 hours of the filing, Stauffer Communications persuaded a judge to seal the suit so the Clerk of the District Court could no longer make copies for the public. No matter - no such order was issued to the copy shop or to the hundreds of citizens that already had copies.

On July 8 the Capital-Journal, which had deep-sixed the Phelps project and fired the publisher who authorized it when it was completed last fall, suddenly began its watered-down, copyrighted series on Phelps that they had earlier claimed they wouldn't print. Bell also withdrew his suit the same day.

By this time, however, TV networks, wire services, and eastern newspapers had obtained copies of the manuscript, and Stauffer's unprecedented attempt to suppress media discussion of the document attracted the interest of several major East Coast newspapers on First Amendment grounds.

Phelps, a self-proclaimed advocate of the First Amendment, whose 'free speech activities include libel, slander defamation of character, intimidation, obscene language, battery, promptly denounced Stauffer Communications and denied the allegations of child abuse, spouse abuse, and other illegal activities. Anyone familiar with Phelps and his children who remain loyal to him, however, can clearly see these adult children and his wife suffer from the grotesque and obvious behaviors symptomatic of severe, long-term abuse. Where and how the twisted saga of Fred Phelps will end is anyone's guess.


The volunteer distributors of this file wish to emphatically state that Jon Michael Bell did not suggest, encourage, or take part in the transfer or distribution of his typewritten manuscript (Exhibit A) to ASCII format. Volunteer distributors make no guarantees either expressed or implied and cannot be responsible in the use of this file.

Jon Michael Bell, one of the authors of "Addicted to Hate", seeks no compensation for his work. If, however, after reading "Addicted to Hate", you would like to make a contribution in his name to organizations in Topeka assisting AIDS victims, abused children and battered women, please send your donations to:

1. Hospice for AIDS Victims
c/o Topeka AIDS Project
1915 S. W. 6th Street
Topeka, Kansas 66606

2. Project Safe Talk
200 S.E. 7th Street
Topeka, Kansas 66603

3. Battered Women Task Force
225 S.W. 12th Street
Topeka, Kansas 66612

Let the word go forth that the overwhelmingly vast majority of Topekans and Kansans DO NOT support Westboro Baptist Cult and Fred Phelps' hate campaigns against all who disagree with him. The District Attorney in Shawnee County (Topeka) has filed several criminal cases against members of the Westboro Cult ranging from disorderly conduct and battery to felony charges of aggravated intimidations of victims and witnesses. Prosecution of these cases are delayed pending the outcome of the second of the lawsuits filed in federal court by Phelps Chartered. There will probably be more. Fred and his lawyer offspring and in-laws continue to abuse the judicial system much as Fred did before his state and federal disbarments. The case is expected to be heard in federal court in early fall, but few expect that this will be the end.

Please let Topeka officials and Federal Judge Sam Crow know that many of Fred Phelps' and WBC activities (as outlined in the above paragraph and documented by both "Addicted to Hate" and the Capital-Journal series) are NOT protected by the First Amendment and encourage them to take whatever steps are necessary to prosecute Phelps for those activities which are clearly crimes to the fullest extent of the law. Please do it today!

The Hon. Sam A. Crow
Frank Carlson Federal Courthouse
444 S.E. Quincy
Topeka, Kansas 66603
(913) 295-2626

Joan M. Hamilton
Shawnee County District Attorney
200 S.E. 7th Street Suite 214
Topeka, Kansas 66603
(913) 233-8200 Ext. 4330

Commissioner Don Cooper
Chairman, Board of Commissioners
200 S.E. 7th Street
Topeka, Kansas 66603
(913) 233-8200 Ext. 4040

The Hon. Butch Felker
Office of the Mayor
215 S.E. 7th Street
Topeka, Kansas 66603
(913) 295-3895

Chief Gerald Beavers
Topeka Police Deaprtment
204 S.W. 5th Street
Topeka, Kansas 66603
(913) 354-9551