Omaha A member of a Kansas church that protests at soldiers’ funerals because it believes God is punishing the U.S. for tolerating homosexuality filed a lawsuit on Monday in federal court accusing Sarpy County prosecutors of violating her rights.
The lawsuit is the latest filed by Shirley Phelps-Roper, who was arrested in 2007 during a protest at the funeral of a National Guardsman in Bellevue. Authorities say she let her then-10-year-old son stand on an American flag and she wore a flag as a skirt that dragged on the ground.
Phelps-Roper’s lawsuit says Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov, as well as other prosecutors in the office, violated her constitutional rights “by investigating her for protected expressive activity,” among other things.
Phelps-Roper is a member of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka that has about 75 members, all but about a dozen of them relatives of the church’s pastor, Fred Phelps. Church members travel around the country protesting at soldiers’ funerals because they believe U.S. troop deaths are punishment for the nation’s tolerance of homosexuality. Members often trample on, wear and display the American flag upside-down as part of their protests.