Victoria Osteen, the wife of Houston-based evangelist Joel Osteen, is being sued civilly by Continental Airlines flight attendant, Sharon Brown, following an incident in which she allegedly shoved the attendant against a bathroom door and elbowed her in the chest. The jury has been seated and the trial begins tomorrow. Read all about it and see photos and a video below.

Sharon Brown, the flight attendant suing Victoria Osteen, is seeking punitive damages amounting to 10% of her net worth. Joel Osteen, Victoria’s husband, is pastor of Lakewood Church in Texas, the largest evangelical church in America with an estimated 42,000 weekly attendants and millions of television viewers. And yes, that would be a chunk of change.

According to court documents, Brown claims that she suffers from anxiety and hemorrhoids because of the incident and said her faith was affected. She is also suing Osteen for medical expenses for counseling and wants an apology.

So here’s the muddled story:

The alleged assault took place on Dec. 19, 2005 during a flight from Houston, Texas to Vail, Colorado. Osteen had asked an attendant to clean a spill on the armrest of her chair. The attendant said she would have another attendant take care of the problem. Apparently impatient, Osteen grabbed a second attendant and took her to the seat. The second attendant then told Osteen she would have somebody come and clean the spill. When no one came right away, Osteen left her seat yet a third time and followed the attendant towards the cockpit where she supposedly “tangled” with one of the attendants.

Are you still following me?

What happened next differs depending on who’s telling the tale. According to two written complaints filed by the attendants to union officials, Osteen became angry and barged toward the cockpit saying that she “wanted to speak to someone in charge.” One attendant tried to stop her and Osteen pushed the attendant aside, according to the reports. A second attendant stepped forward and Osteen grabbed that attendant by the wrist and engaged in an argument outside of the cockpit.

FYI: touching a flight attendant is a federal offense, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Needless to say, the flight was delayed while Osteen was removed from the aircraft and her husband and two children accompanied her. For nearly two hours, the flight waited at the gate as the Osteens’ bags were removed. They then chartered a plane on to Vail. The Federal Aviation Administration has fined Victoria Osteen $3,000 for interfering with a crew member during the flight.

So today, after questions that touched on religious beliefs, celebrity and the public’s perception of preachers and televangelists, a jury was seated today. A jury panel of seven men and five women is set to hear opening statements in the trial on Thursday.

It all sounds simply ridiculous to me.

UPDATED 8/14/08: Today, a Houston jury determined that the wife of megachurch pastor Joel Osteen did not physically assault a flight attendant on a Continental flight in 2005. Sharon Brown wanted at least $405,000 in damages for their altercation. There were 2 witnesses called by her attorney testified that no assault occurred.

“No matter what happened, I knew the truth was in me, and that was the most important thing,” Victoria Osteen told reporters after the verdict was read.

The flight attendant sought an apology from Osteen and initially sought 10 percent of her net worth as damages. She later testified she would leave it up to the jury to determine what was fair.

Well they sure did that Ms. Brown.


Victoria Osteen – Video
“Joel and Victoria Osteen Talk About Their Relationship”