Religious freedom is under attack in this country. Nowhere is this attack more defined than the malicious persecution of EllenBeth Wachs by Polk County, Florida, Sheriff Grady Judd.
EllenBeth, an activist for the separation of church and state, had, earlier this year, challenged Sheriff Judd, an outspoken evangelical Christian, over the illegal transfer of taxpayer property to local churches, which he had orchestrated in a politically motivated public relations stunt.
Additionally, she discovered, through her Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to Sheriff Judd, that Judd had illegally used his sheriff department’s credit card and other taxpayer resources for this purpose.
In retaliation over a dozen of Sheriff Judd’s deputies, in SWAT tactical gear, descended on EllenBeth’s home in March. She was arrested on felony charges, jailed, her home searched and personal items and documents seized. Why? Because EllenBeth, a retired attorney, had used the letters “Esq.” (an honorific used by both practicing and retired attorneys) after her name on those FOIA requests to the sheriff.
Among the items that deputies took in the search were incriminating documents sent by a sheriff’s department employee in response to EllenBeth’s FOIA requests. Moreover, the search included rummaging through areas that had nothing to do with the practice of law: searching her underwear drawer, her medical supplies, turning over her bed mattress, looking under chair cushions, probing into her cars as well as into her employees’ cars and purses, while holding them at gunpoint.
Then again in May, she was dragged from her home, arrested and jailed, including a week of solitary confinement, on another trumped up felony charge based on a neighbor’s alleged report that he had heard a sexual sound coming from the privacy of her home 48 days prior.
EllenBeth currently faces the possibility of years in prison. Most incredulously, no one has ever been arrested, charged, let alone convicted on the allegations that have been leveled at her in these charges.
Clearly, EllenBeth has been maliciously persecuted for standing up against the sheriff in her campaign to secure her -- and our -- religious freedoms.
But she is fighting back and you can help her by signing this petition and passing it on to everyone you know.