A Massachusetts church pastor who’s been fined twice for holding services with more than 10 people in defiance of a state order barring such gatherings designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus has filed a lawsuit.
The federal suit filed Thursday by the Rev. Kristopher Casey and the Adams Square Baptist Church in Worcester seeks a temporary restraining order and asks the court to declare the state’s order barring gatherings of more than 10 people to be unlawful and a violation of Casey’s rights.
Without emergency relief, Casey and the church will “suffer immediate and irreparable injury from the threat of civil and criminal prosecution for the mere act of engaging in the free exercise of religion and in assembling for worship,” the lawsuit says.
The suit says the congregants have been adhering to social distancing guidelines during services, wearing masks and gloves, and the church has been cleaned frequently.
Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. said he’s aware of the lawsuit but could not comment on pending litigation.