Ind. law on church burglary ruled constitutional

| February 28, 2011

An Indiana burglary law that increases punishments for those who break into religious buildings does not violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment, an Indiana appeals court has ruled.

In October 2009, Joshua Burke and two other individuals burglarized and vandalized the True Gospel Assembly Church in Indianapolis. They spray-painted walls in the church, destroyed musical instruments and carried away an amplifier.

Burke faced charges under the state burglary law, which provides in part:

“A person who breaks and enters the building or structure of another person, with intent to commit a felony in it, commits burglary, a Class C felony. However, the offense is:
(1) A Class B felony if …
(B) the building or structure is …
(ii) … used for religious purposes.”

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Category: Church Security

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