Victim rights groups sue over MO House of Worship Protection Act

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

A federal lawsuit was filed Wednesday [August 22, 2012] by two groups that support victims of clergy sexual abuse challenging the constitutionality of Missouri’s new House of Worship Protection Act. The law prohibits intentionally disrupting a church, synagogue or mosque. The complaint (full text) in Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests, Inc. v. Joyce, (ED MO, filed 8/22/2012), claims that the  law which goes into effect on Aug. 28 infringes plaintiffs’ free speech rights and that the law is unconstitutionally vague. The plaintiffs, SNAP and Voice of the Faithful, regularly picket, distribute leaflets or stand with signs outside Catholic churches to support victims of clergy abuse and encourage reform in the Catholic Church. ACLU of Eastern Missouri announced the filing of the lawsuit.