BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) A 19th judicial district court judge has denied Todd Terrell, the founder of the United Cajun Navy, a personal protection order against a lead volunteer in the Seacor Power search efforts.
When the United Cajun Navy ended its part in the search for the missing Seacor Power crewmembers, it noted accusations from volunteers and Todd Terrell filed a personal protection order toward the most vocal volunteers, Christifer DeRouen.
“Others may have been unsuccessful, but I don’t plan to be,” DeRouen said as he confidently entered the East Baton Rouge Parish Courthouse. DeRouen’s attorney, Gabe Duhon, said this was the ninth or tenth personal protective order the founder of the United Cajun Navy has filed against individuals.
“But nothing to do with the Seacor Power,” Duhon stated.
DeRouen joined the search for the missing Seacor Power crewmembers early on and provided constant Facebook Live updates for the search. He eventually became the Vice President of Gulfcoast Humanitarian Efforts, the nonprofit which continued the search.
Todd Terrell accused DeRouen of cyberstalking and harassment for comments made in those Facebook lives. He called them threats, false claims, and attempts to extort money.
But the judge struck down the personal protective order for two reasons: free speech and the Seacor Power capsizing being a public issue. Judge William Morvant said personal protection order seemed like a disguised defamation case. He also noted most protection orders are urgent being resolved in a week, but Terell’s lawyers pushed it out twice.
After the ruling, Duhon told News 10, “The original petition was filed as a petition for protection from harassment or cyberstalking. Now that statute falls under the domestic abuse statutes, and obviously, that does not fit the facts of this case, so it was an obvious attempt to gag Mr. DeRouen to stop him from getting online and telling the public what was going on.”
We attempted to speak to Terell and his lawyers as they were leaving the courthouse, but they gave no comment and drove off.
DeRouen had this to say, “Truth will find its way in all this. The timetable is wide open I guess you could say, but the next time I step foot in a courtroom, I will be on the other side of the bench, and I look forward to that day.”
Gulfcoast Humanitarian Efforts has filed a civil suit against the United Cajun Navy for what they called unfulfilled promises due to funds. There is no court date set for that yet.