May 04, 2006

Fontana case raises church-state separation issue

Yakima Herald-Republic


Deciding who is a minister and who is not is one of the core issues in a case unfolding in Yakima County Superior Court this afternoon involving the Catholic Diocese of Yakima and a former employee.

Robert Fontana, former director of evangelism for the diocese, brought suit against the diocese in August, saying that he had been constructively discharged, or forced to resign.

The diocese has countered with a motion to dismiss the case.

Today's hearing in front of Judge Susan Hahn will determine whether the case proceeds.

In the lawsuit, Fontana's lawyer, Gary Lofland, contends that Fontana was forced to leave his job because he was critical of how the diocese was applying its policy on clergy sexual misconduct with vulnerable people.

Posted by kshaw at May 4, 2006 06:48 AM