December 15, 2005 | 08:43 PM
Federal jury finds in favor of pastor
A federal jury unanimously decided today that two Harrisburg police officers illegally arrested Pastor Jim Grove of Heritage Baptist Church at a 2003 homosexual event in the city. He, along with three others, including RA's Michael Marcavage, were arrested and jailed for several hours on July 26, 2003 while ministering at the annual pride celebration.
The annual event features various activities throughout the day, which in the past included the sale of pornographic materials, public nudity, open lewdness, men dressed like women, and the use of obscene language over the public address system. Police refused to deal with the illegal behavior of the pride event attendees, but instead removed the Christians and falsely charged them with crimes.
Pastor Grove was acquitted of the criminal charges lodged against him the same year, and subsequently filed the civil rights lawsuit to hold police accountable for their illegal actions and to prevent such behavior in the future.
The jury unanimously found that Corporal Thomas C. Carter and Patrol Officer Stephanie Barrelet, a known lesbian, intentionally violated Pastor Grove's First Amendment rights.
Michael Marcavage testifed at Grove's trial, as well as during a related injunction hearing held before Judge William W. Caldwell. Caldwell will be ruling on the injunction that would prevent police from barring Christians from evangelizing outside one of the event's main entrances in the next couple of months.
For more information on this case, please contact:
Len Brown, Esquire (or) Dennis E. Boyle, Esquire at (717) 299-7101