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Family loses appeal in lawsuit over priest's funeral remarks

Posted at 4:35 PM, Jul 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-11 19:39:59-04

TEMPERANCE, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Court of Appeals says a priest who criticized a teenager’s suicide during his funeral is protected by the religion clauses of the First Amendment. The court affirmed a decision by a Monroe County judge, who had dismissed a lawsuit by the mother of Maison Hullibarger. The 18-year-old died in 2018. Mourners were shocked when the Rev. Don LaCuesta gave a critical sermon. The priest said suicide was a “secular crime” and a “sin against God with dire eternal consequences.” Linda Hullibarger sued the priest and the Detroit Archdiocese, alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy and other claims. Hullibarger says LaCuesta had reneged on an agreement to celebrate her son’s life.