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Lawsuit: Adams County jailer forced to resign after refusing prayer rugs to Muslim inmates

Posted at 9:08 PM, Dec 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-05 00:23:30-05

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — A former high-ranking jail employee is suing the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, claiming he was demoted and forced to resign after refusing to hand out prayer rugs to Muslim inmates. Sterritt Fuller says he was discriminated against because of his religion.

Fuller was the supervisor of inmate programs at the Adams County Detention Center for over a decade. When his bosses asked him to write a new jail policy allowing inmates to receive prayer rugs, he refused. 

“I said no I wouldn’t do that. It was contrary to the Constitution,” he told Denver7. 

According to Fuller, prayer rugs would be a “secondary religious object” that would go beyond just the books of faith provided by the jail. Things like rosary beads or small crosses aren’t permitted. 

“One religion was going to be preferred over all others,” he said. “This would essentially be an endorsement of Islam by Adams County Detention Facility.”

He claims his refusal led to him being placed on leave. He was eventually demoted to a new position, which required him to stand for nearly 12 hours a day, despite his arthritis in his hip and back. 

“They chose just to ignore it and turn a blind eye to it in hopes that I’d get tired of it and quit due to my physical health, which I eventually had to do,” he claimed. 

Fuller is now suing the sheriff’s office and two of his former supervisors for religious discrimination and violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. 

One section of the lawsuit specifically addressed the issue of Fuller’s religion and claims he was told by his superiors “that his fanatical Christian beliefs were interfering with his judgment and that he was making his argument because, under his Christian beliefs, he disapproved of Muslims.”

Fuller denied that was the case.

An Adams County Sheriff’s Office spokesman could not comment on the issue because it is pending litigation.