" Government officials in Phoenix are violating the law by compelling individuals suspected of prostitution-related offenses to participate in a program administered by religious groups, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says.
In a letter sent today to city officials, attorneys with Americans United assert that the program, Project ROSE, clearly violates the First Amendment. Project ROSE consists of a partnership between Phoenix police, Catholic Charities and a local Christian church.
Those arrested in the city’s twice-yearly sex-work stings are forcibly taken to Bethany Bible Church and escorted into the church in handcuffs. They are then given the option to avoid criminal prosecution by participating in a sectarian program.