Religion news in brief

After 3rd recent death at Okla. drug rehab center, sheriff says he's investigating

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — After three deaths in nine months at an eastern Oklahoma drug rehab center with ties to the Church of Scientology, the local sheriff confirmed Wednesday that he has launched an investigation.

Pittsburg County Sheriff Joel Kerns said his office is looking into three deaths at Narconon Arrowhead. The most recent occurred Thursday, when the center's staff found 20-year-old Stacy Dawn Murphy dead in her room.

"She was found with no apparent abrasions or anything of that sort," Kerns said. "No apparent medical conditions."

Kerns said Murphy had recently returned to the center in the small lake-side town of Canadian, about 130 miles east of Oklahoma City, after a visit to her home in Owasso. Kerns said staff at the facility reported she tested positive for drugs after returning, and that investigators are exploring whether she may have overdosed.

The center' director, Gary Smith, said Narconon Arrowhead is fully cooperating with investigators "and will comply with any recommendations that may be made by these agencies."

Narconon uses saunas, vitamins, mild exercise and a special diet in its three-month treatment, which is based on techniques developed by Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.


9 Louisiana schools to double their enrollment with taxpayer-funded vouchers

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Nine religious schools that will take in taxpayer-funded voucher students for the upcoming school year will more than double their enrollments with the subsidized students, receiving about $3.6 million in payments from the state.

About 13 percent of the 5,600 students who received placement offers this week for Louisiana's new statewide voucher program would attend those greatly enlarged schools, which are mainly in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, according to data released by the Department of Education.

Included in that list is the New Living Word School, which grabbed early attention with lawmakers because of questions about the Ruston church-affiliated school's capability to handle the students. It offered more spaces for voucher students than anyone else, willing to accept 315 children.

The voucher program, pushed by Gov. Bobby Jindal as a way to expand educational opportunities, will use tax dollars to send students from low- to moderate-income families to private and parochial schools.


Minn. court tosses out clergy abuse case based on repressed memory

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday tossed out a clergy abuse lawsuit by a man whose case rested on a repressed memory claim, siding with a lower court's ruling that repressed memory is an unproven theory.

James Keenan sued the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona, claiming that as a teenager he was sexually abused four times in 1980 or 1981 by Thomas Adamson, a priest who has since been defrocked.

Keenan brought his claim in 2006, well outside the state's six-year statute of limitations, but argued that it should be allowed because he repressed memories of the abuse. A district court rejected that claim, but the state Court of Appeals revived it last year.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with the district court, which found that studies claiming to have proven the existence of repressed memory "lacked foundational reliability."

Keenan, 45, of Savage, said he was disappointed in the ruling. He and his attorney, Jeffrey Anderson, said their main goal was to force the release of a list of 46 priests who may have committed abuse.

Spokesmen for both the archdiocese and diocese had no immediate comment.


5 charged with intimidation at Jewish summer camp

WAYMART, Pa. (AP) — Three adults and two juveniles have been charged with terrorizing campers at a Jewish summer camp in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Authorities in Wayne County alleged Wednesday that the group sped through the grounds of Camp Bonim in Clinton Township in a pickup truck on three occasions earlier this month, shooting paintballs at campers, destroying property and yelling racial epithets at campers and staff.

Facing numerous charges including ethnic intimidation, terroristic threats and riot are 18-year-old Tyler Spencer of Linden, Tenn., 21-year-old Mark Trail of Bethany, 18-year-old Cassandra Robertson of Honesdale and the unnamed juveniles.

Spencer had been charged earlier in a hit-and-run accident involving one of the camp counselors.


Clash between Hindus, Muslims in India kills 1

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — Police say a communal clash between Muslims observing the holy month of Ramadan and Hindus offering alms to one of their gods left one man dead and 20 injured, including policemen, in northern India.

Police imposed a curfew on Bareilly town in Uttar Pradesh, where the two sides had hurled stones at each other and a 22-year-old Muslim man was shot and killed.

Senior officer Jagmohan Yadav says police have yet to determine who fired the shot. Schools are closed, and police are meeting with community leaders to defuse tensions.

Police say the Muslims offering morning prayers on the second day of Ramadan were upset by devotional singing by Hindus who were on their way to a temple for a regular Monday ceremony offering water and milk to Lord Shiva.