Judge rejects NY sex offender's religious claim

Sunday August 26, 2012

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- A federal judge has rejected a convicted New York sex offender's claim that his treatment subjects him to religious practices in violation of his civil rights.

David McChesney is in civil confinement at the Central New York Psychiatric Center in Marcy. He says that as an atheist, he has been subjected to programs he says are based on Zen Buddhism and Christianity.

The 68-year-old says the Good Lives Models and Boundaries programs teach that participants must "believe something denoted as spirituality." He also points to anger management programs that incorporate Christian beliefs and relaxation programs that teach Buddhist practices.

U.S. District Judge Norman Mordue ruled this week there is "no constitutional infirmity." A magistrate earlier concluded McChesny failed to prove the programs were "religious in nature," in First Amendment terms.


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