An Illinois man accused of faking divorce documents to try and persuade a church to let him remarry has been acquitted of forgery after his lawyer argued that the charge was a violation of the constitutional separation of church and state.
Steve Fanady, of Northlake, had been accused of forging the stamp of a judge and the signature of an attorney on the document, and then using this to try and obtain a religious annulment at his local Greek Orthodox church.
According to a report on CBS Chicago, Fanady’s lawyer told the court that the dispute was between the man and his church and not subject to prosecution by the state.
“One could say that, if a Catholic went to confession to get absolution, and lied to the priest, and got absolution, he could be charged with deceptive practices and theft by deception. Church and state are separate, thank God, in this country.”
Fanady insisted he had been innocent of the charges.
“It’s a relief, and it’s really fine to just get on with life. When the matter first came out, it’s very distressful, it caused a lot of loss of sleep, it was very disconcerting.”
Photo by Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence