A.G. Sean Reyes helped intimidate a critic of Operation Underground Railroad, new lawsuit alleges

The new lawsuit — and the fourth filed against Ballard and OUR — alleges Reyes, Ballard and OUR deprived a Utah woman of her right to free speech.

A Utah woman is suing Sean Reyes, accusing the Utah attorney general of using his official position to try to silence her criticism of the anti-child-trafficking exploits of Operation Underground Railroad and its founder, Tim Ballard. Ballard and OUR are also named as defendants in the civil suit.

The lawsuit states that the woman, Suzanne Whitehead, works for a nonprofit that does anti-trafficking work in Nepal. According to the suit, filed Monday in 3rd District Court, Whitehead had publicly challenged OUR’s claims about how many children the group had rescued, the quality of the care the children received afterward, and accused OUR of taking credit for work she says her organization had done.

In one instance, the lawsuit alleges, Whitehead was working at a shelter in Nepal when OUR sent a blog post highlighting the shelter, naming the victims and saying one of them had been trafficked to family members and others. All of this was done without permission, the suit states, and the named victim was never actually trafficked.

Based on that instance and others detailed in the suit, Whitehead began speaking out on Facebook and Twitter, accusing Ballard of distorting the truth, exaggerating claims and neglecting aftercare for victims.

Several representatives of OUR — including Ballard — contacted Whitehead’s supervisor, the suit alleges, asking her to delete social media posts and stop criticizing the organization.

Around that time, Reyes, who is close friends with Ballard, also called and sent a text message to the woman’s supervisor, the suit alleges. According to a text thread included in the suit, the supervisor told another OUR representative that Reyes had called and he would be willing to speak with Reyes, but insisted Whitehead should be able to say what she wants.

Reyes never followed up after sending the text to Whitehead’s supervisor, according to the lawsuit.

Nonetheless, the suit says that Reyes’ involvement, along with Ballard and OUR’s continued pressure on Whitehead and her supervisor, caused her concern and anxiety.

“Given the power and magnitude of General Reyes’ tentacles in all aspects of Utah law enforcement, government, the private sector and [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints], and his complete lack of willingness to defend the State of Utah and its citizens from the fraud that is Tim Ballard, the plaintiff was unable to exercise her free speech rights against OUR and Tim Ballard,” the lawsuit alleges.

Representatives for the Utah attorney general and Tim Ballard did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the new lawsuit.

Reyes’ friendship with Ballard spans a decade, with the attorney general helping OUR raise money, appearing at speaking engagements and promotional videos, participating in OUR rescue operations and receiving an associate producer credit on the movie “Sound of Freedom,” which is based on Ballard’s origin story.

The lawsuit also includes an email Reyes sent to Ballard in which he proposes a scene for a movie based on Ballard’s story that features himself as a character — Attorney General David Reyes an “early 40′s — energetic — Hawaiian/Hispanic/Asian of larger build — former MMA fighter now elected official” — in the movie and highlighting his own involvement in anti-trafficking efforts.

Ballard responded the suggestion was “awesome” and he would pass it on to the director, suggesting it would “be great as a marketing tool for the film as well.”

The suit says that when “Sound of Freedom” opened in July, Reyes attended premieres in Utah, Idaho, Tennessee, Japan, the Philipines, and a private screening with former President Donald Trump in Bedminster, New Jersey. A text in the suit indicates that the production company covered Reyes’ travel costs to the event in Tennessee.

The suit seeks unspecified damages and attorney fees.

This marks the fourth recent lawsuit naming Ballard and OUR as defendants. Seven plaintiffs have filed a pair of civil lawsuits against the OUR founder in recent weeks accusing Ballard of sexual misconduct and assault and another was filed last week by Bree Righter, alleging OUR’s recklessness led to her eye socket being shattered while training for an operation at OUR’s gym in Draper.

The same attorneys are representing all of the plaintiffs.

In addition, Lindon Police have said they are investigating a sexual assault complaint against Ballard by Celeste Borys, one of the seven plaintiffs in the civil suits.