DoctorE

Turtles all the way down

$2 million settlement for Shasta County atheist

Posted by doctore0 on October 15, 2014


A Shasta County man has agreed to a nearly $2 million settlement with the State of California and a not-for-profit drug treatment group after he was sent to prison for refusing to comply with the religious-based program.

Barry Hazle, Jr., of Oak Run, will receive a $1,925,000 settlement from the State of California and Westcare California Inc., the group that contracts services from Empire Recovery Center.

In 2007, Hazel was sentenced to a 12-step treatment program at Empire Recovery Center on California Street in Redding.

An atheist, Hazle objected when he learned the program included religious components.

According to a press release from Hazel’s lawyer, John G. Heller, the program required him to “acknowledge and release responsibility for his fate to a ‘higher power.'”

Due to Hazle’s objections, Heller says parole officials revoked his probation and sent him to prison, where he served roughly 100 days.
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