RI city settles legal fees in prayer banner case

AP News

3/6/2012 9:27:33 PM - AP News

Officials in a Rhode Island city have agreed to pay $150,000 in legal costs to the state American Civil Liberties Union to end a court dispute stemming from a prayer banner at a high school.

The Providence Journal reports (http://bit.ly/zgzunGschool) Cranston school district chief operating officer Raymond Votto disclosed the settlement Tuesday. ACLU lawyers who had sued on behalf of teenage atheist Jessica Ahlquist had sought $173,000 from the city.

A federal judge earlier ruled the prayer banner at Cranston High School West was unconstitutional and ordered it removed. The school committee didn't appeal.

Votto also held a news conference at the school Tuesday. He says employees spent 11 hours last weekend removing the wooden banner and an auditorium wall slab where it was mounted in 1963. He says the cost was about $2,500, mostly overtime.

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Information from: The Providence Journal, http://www.providencejournal.com