BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A defamation lawsuit was filed Tuesday in State Supreme Court against two podcast hosts who claimed to reveal details about alleged local human trafficking.

Calvin Kern of Grand Island is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as a retraction and apology, from defendants Kaitlynn “Kait” Gannon and Laurie Krull. Their podcast and social media accounts known as The Ugly Truth About The Girl Next Door have received millions of views since launching in February 2022.

“These false allegations against Cal Kern were, upon information and belief, purportedly conjured from Defendant Kaitlynn (“Kait”) Gannon’s hidden memory during some type of hypnosis performed by Defendant Laurie Krull, who is not a physician,” the lawsuit states.

Krull is licensed clinical social worker with 30 years of experience, according to her website. She has a practice in North Tonawanda.

The podcasts tell Gannon’s story of allegedly being sex trafficked as a child, the lawsuit states. Gannon accused Kern of being a “buyer,” which she defines as “a man who has paid money to abuse Kait as a child.” The TikTok video naming him has been viewed more than 400,000 times since last December.

“Cal Kern has never sexually abused Defendant Gannon or anyone else. Nor has he ever previously been accused of any such act,” the lawsuit says. “… Defendants know Cal Kern was not a ‘Buyer’ and did not abuse Defendant Gannon, but they have posted the allegation, and continue to post the allegation, on the Website.”

The suit also claims that the FBI determined at least one of the threats Gannon allegedly received was placed by Gannon herself.

The podcast hosts did not respond to inquiries from News 4, but posted on social media Wednesday with the caption, “we will not back down.”

A spokesperson for the Erie County District Attorney’s Office said, “At this time, our office has not received a complaint to investigate the plaintiff in this lawsuit.”

Kern was a top soccer player at Buffalo State in the 1970s and is a member of their sports Hall of Fame. He founded the Niagara Power collegiate baseball team in 2007. He is also a former statewide leader with Fellowship of Christian Athletes. His son, Brett, is an NFL punter.

The lawsuit says Kern has been damaged by the accusations in numerous ways: Churches and other companies have withdrawn their sponsorship of his sports ministry, SCORE International; the University at Buffalo suspended Kern’s volunteer appointment to the Campus Ministry Association; and Kern and his wife were suspended from their church and ostracized by their community.

The lawsuit seeks damages from both women, plus attorneys’ fees and other relief as the court deems proper. It also seeks a permanent injunction that directs the women to remove all references to Kern from their sites and social media pages and bars them from referencing Kern in the future.

Additionally, the lawsuit states that the defendants have profited off their accusations, selling branded merchandise on their website and raising more than $30,000 through GoFundMe.

Kern’s attorney declined to comment, saying the lawsuit speaks for itself. Gannon and Krull have between 20 and 30 days to answer the complaint.