Religion

Report: Indiana State Trooper Tried To Convert Woman

| by Michael Allen
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Indiana State Police Trooper Brian Hamilton is being sued for allegedly trying to convert a woman during a traffic stop.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a legal complaint on April 5 on behalf of Wendy Pyle, who says the trooper asked her if "she had been saved" during a traffic stop in January. Hamilton allegedly told Pyle about his church and gave her directions to the church, notes the The Star Press.

The lawsuit stated: "Ms. Pyle was extremely uncomfortable with these questions. In order to hopefully end these inquiries Ms. Pyle indicated that she did attend a church and that she was saved."

Hamilton was also sued by the ACLU of Indiana in 2014 on behalf of Ellen Bogan who asserted the trooper pulled her over for an alleged violation and asked "if she had accepted Jesus Christ as her savior and then presented her with a pamphlet from the First Baptist Church in Cambridge that informed the reader that he or she is a sinner; listed God’s Plan of Salvation, noting that the person must realize that the Lord Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sins; and, advertised a radio broadcast entitled 'Policing for Jesus Ministries.'"

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"I’m not affiliated with any church," Bogan told the IndyStar in 2014. "I don’t go to church. I felt compelled to say I did, just because I had a state trooper standing at the passenger-side window. It was just weird."

Bogan’s lawsuit was settled, and Hamilton was told not to question people's religious beliefs or give them religious materials by his superiors, according to court records.

Hamilton did not comment to The Star Press about this new lawsuit, but ISP Capt. Dave Bursten said the trooper was moved to a desk job on Jan. 15 after a complaint was filed with the ISP, although it's not known if Pyle filed that complaint, which the ISP won't publicize.

"We don't want people to be afraid of making a complaint because they think we're going to publicize their name and create stress for them," Bursten stated.

Bursten said there is an ongoing investigation into the complaint.

An ACLU of Indiana spokesperson said Pyle and her lawyers would not comment on the lawsuit.

Sources: The Star Press, ACLU of Indiana via Dropbox.com / Photo credit: TUBS/Wikimedia, Nathaneal Hevelone/Flickr

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