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Woman Nearly Arrested for Praying in Her Own Home

10-01-2016

It's been about three years since Mary Anne Sause heard the loud knock of police officers at her door. She never imagined then she could face jail time over something as simple as prayer. 

Now she and her attorneys are bringing a federal case against against the Louisburg, Kansas Police Department for what happened to her.

Sause, a devout Catholic and former nurse, was home late one September night in 2013 when police pounded on her door demanding to be let in. 

Once inside, the officers harassed and taunted her without giving a specific reason why they were there. When Sause pulled out a copy of the Constitution, one of the cops reportedly said it was "just a piece of paper," which "doesn't work here."

Terrified, Sause knelt down to pray. That is when one of the officers started flipping through a code book to find some violation to charge her with. The officers continued taunting her and even threatened her with jail time. Eventually, they left, saying they had only come because of a noise complaint that her radio was too loud. 

Sause reported the incident to the police department and filed a federal case with First Liberty Institute. 

"The police are supposed to make you feel safe, but I was terrified that night. It was one of the worst nights of my life," Sause said. 

First Liberty lawyers say she experienced something that night no American should ever have to experience.

"No American should ever be told that they cannot pray in their own home," said Stephanie Taub, associate counsel for First Liberty Institute. "The right to pray in the privacy of one's own home is clearly protected by the First Amendment." 

First Liberty Institute is urging the Tenth Circuit to review the case to ensure nothing like this happens again.

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