Last week, a judge denied a motion by the Thomas More Society to dismiss a case against a small homeschooling group in Indiana, the Fishers Adolescent Catholic Enrichment Society (FACES). While the State of Indiana refuses to let up on the small faith-based group, the Thomas More Society continues to vigorously defend the trial of the families involved.
“We remain confident that we will prevail in this hearing,” said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of Thomas More Society. “Our clients did go out of their way to accommodate the claimed disability of the home-schooled student for whom the discrimination charge was brought. We believe that the evidence will show—overwhelmingly—that the student’s mother wasn’t just asking for a ‘reasonable accommodation’ for her daughter, but for her own dictated form of accommodation, which is far more than any law does or should require.” Brejcha also said that the retaliation claim is equally baseless as no group can survive, let alone function, when its members are free to flout and circumvent the decisions of its established leadership.
A public hearing has been scheduled to proceed before the Indiana Civil Rights Commission’s appointed hearing officer at the Commission offices in Indianapolis on September 29th and 30th, with October 1st also reserved if needed. Discovery efforts in preparation for the hearing already have been proceeding apace and will increase during July and August, prior to the hearing dates.
While Thomas More Society lawyers Pat Gillen and Peter Breen expect to prevail at the hearing, the Society plans to appeal any adverse result. Brejcha said that if any appeal eventuates, the Society’s lawyers will renew FACES’ objection that the Commission has no jurisdiction—i.e., no legal authority—to oversee the internal affairs and membership decisions of such a small, informal group of eleven homeschooling families established to provide religiously-oriented social opportunities for their children.
Read the Judge’s full order below
FACES – Judge’s Order on Motion to Dismiss