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02-23-09, 08:51 PM #1
Satanist inmate sues county for alleged civil-rights violations, including interference with his satanic religious practices.
A Billings man in prison for drug possession has filed a $10 million federal lawsuit against Yellowstone County for alleged civil-rights violations, including interference with his satanic religious practices.
Jason Paul Indreland claims in the U.S. District Court lawsuit that county jail staff took from him a religious medallion, denied him access to religious material and ridiculed and punished him for his religious beliefs.
The lawsuit also alleges that Indreland was denied medical care for his drug addiction, that he was placed in situations where violence was expected and that he suffered harassment and retaliation while incarcerated.
Indreland said he has been a practicing Satanist for the past decade and the confiscated medallion was a "protective symbol" in his religion. The lawsuit claims jail staff refused to return the medallion or allow Indreland access to a "Satanic Bible or Book of Satanic Rituals."
Indreland, 35, is incarcerated at Montana State Prison for a term of five years, with two years suspended, for felony drug possession. Indreland was convicted of the crime after Billings police found him with 15 grams of methamphetamine in March 2007.
Indreland has previous felony convictions in Yellowstone and Stillwater counties for bad checks and theft.
Indreland is not represented by an attorney in his suit. An attorney for the county, Kevin Gillen, said the county has not been served with the claim and could not comment.
Indreland initially filed the handwritten federal lawsuit last March while he was still held at the county jail. The lawsuit names as defendants the Yellowstone County Board of Commissioners, Sheriff Chuck Maxwell, Undersheriff Jay Bell and Sheriff's Capt. Dennis McCave, who oversees county jail operations.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby reviewed the complaint and in October issued an order permitting Indreland to file an amended complaint. Ostby said in the order that there were several legal flaws in the original claim and it would be dismissed if not amended to comply with her order.
Indreland filed the amended complaint Nov. 12. In that document, Indreland named numerous members of the jail staff he alleges participated in violating his civil rights. Among the claims, Indreland alleges jail staff placed "Christian natured greeting cards under (his) cell door describing how he was going to undertake a huge change in his life and how Jesus was ready to save and accept him."
The lawsuit seeks $3 million for alleged civil-rights violations, $2 million for "the deprivation of his rights and injuries both mental and physical," and $5 million in punitive damages. Satanist inmate sues county
02-23-09, 09:15 PM #2
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- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
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That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
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