Magazine article Church & State

Tenn. Woman Says Deputy Coerced Her into Late-Night Baptism

Magazine article Church & State

Tenn. Woman Says Deputy Coerced Her into Late-Night Baptism

Article excerpt

A Tennessee woman claims that a sheriff's deputy in Hamilton County offered to drop drug-possession charges against her if she would agree to be baptized.

The woman, who has filed a lawsuit against the county, has not been named in media reports. She alleges that Deputy Daniel Wilkey followed her after she left a convenience store Feb. 6 around 10 p.m. When she arrived at a friend's house, Wilkey pulled up behind her and ordered her to submit to a search. He also searched her vehicle and during the search, he found a portion of a marijuana cigarette. She said Wilkey told her he had reason to believe she was in possession of methamphetamine.

At that point, Wilkey asked the woman if she had been "saved" and told her that he believed God wanted him to baptize her, reported the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Her lawsuit asserts that Wilke told her that if she would submit to baptism, he would issue her a criminal citation for possession of marijuana rather than take her to jail. …

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