Four federal lawsuits filed in Nashville by a family of self-proclaimed “traveling fire-and-brimstone” evangelists have been dismissed for the family's failure to pay filing fees.
U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell signed orders Wednesday dismissing suits filed by Glynis Bethel and her husband, Orlando Bethel, as well as on behalf of the couple’s three minor children. The suits claimed various civil rights violations by Metro library and school officials, Brentwood High School and Williamson County Schools.
In April and May, the Bethel family claimed to be homeless and tried to enroll the children in area schools, then later filed lawsuits after school officials denied enrollment because the family — from Alabama — didn’t reside in the area.
One of the suits, filed on May 5 against the city and administrators at the Nashville Public Library, alleged the library administration violated the Bethels’ civil rights by not allowing them to hand out religious materials inside the library.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell signed orders dismissing the cases, stating the Bethels failed to pay the proper filing fees and follow court procedures.
Various media reports and court filings in various federal districts point to a pattern of the family traveling from city to city while filing dozens of lawsuits against local governments along the way.
The Bethels also took their messages to the streets of downtown Nashville, and in a June 4 incident Metro police arrested 49-year-old Glynis Bethel for allegedly spraying a woman with pepper spray and then spraying a police officer in the face with pepper spray when he tried to stop her, according to an arrest affidavit.
The alleged incident occurred near the intersection of Broadway and Second Avenue after a woman claimed she and her friends got into a verbal confrontation with members of the Bethel family. Police charged Bethel with resisting arrest, assaulting an officer and assault.
The criminal court case remains open.