Supreme Court Won’t Hear Appeal About Church Retaliation Claim

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court won’t let a woman sue a Maryland church for retaliation after she complained of sexual harassment from its pastor.

The high court refused to hear an appeal from Mary Linklater, who had sued the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, in Gaithersburg, Md., for sexual harassment and retaliation after allegedly being harassed by its pastor, Rufus Lusk III.

The Court of Appeals of Maryland threw out her retaliation complaint under the ministerial exception clause because she was the church’s minister of music. The First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion shields churches and their operations from the reach of some protective laws when religious employees are involved.

The church also appealed hoping to get Linklater’s sexual harassment claims dismissed. The court refused to hear that claim as well.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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