HOUSTON – A flight attendant testified Tuesday that the wife of megachurch TV pastor Joel Osteen attacked her without provocation.
Continental Airlines flight attendant Sharon Brown said Tuesday that she was polite and courteous to Victoria Osteen before the start of a 2005 flight from Houston to Vail, Colo.
But Brown testified that the co-pastor of Houston's popular Lakewood Church suddenly, without explanation, threw her against a bathroom door and elbowed her in the left breast during an angry outburst over a spill on her first-class seat.
Both Joel and Victoria Osteen have said on the stand that no "attack" ever took place.
Brown is suing Victoria Osteen for the alleged assault and wants an apology and punitive damages amounting to 10 percent of Osteen's net worth as part of her suit.
Brown also said Joel Osteen offered an apology for his wife's behavior.
Last week, Victoria Osteen said she was "dumbfounded" over the charges. Joel Osteen called the incident "an unfortunate misunderstanding." He testified that his wife never raised her voice or grabbed the flight attendants, though he said he could not hear his wife's voice from his seat.
The couple are co-pastors of Houston's Lakewood Church, a converted basketball arena that draws about 42,000 people each week for services.
Joel Osteen's weekly television address is broadcast nationally and internationally and he has written books that have been sold around the globe.
Another flight attendant on the plane, Maria Johnson, said last week on the stand that Victoria Osteen demanded special attention to clean up a half-dollar-sized spill on her armrest.
When Victoria Osteen didn't get her way, Johnson testified, the passenger became verbally and physically abusive to both flight attendants. She said Osteen eventually grabbed Brown by the shoulders, elbowed her in the chest and pushed her out of the way in an attempt to get into the cockpit.
Brown has claimed the flight attendants asked to have Victoria Osteen removed from the plane, but Joel and Victoria Osteen testified they left voluntarily.
The Federal Aviation Administration fined Victoria Osteen $3,000 for interfering with a crew member.