updated 2/5/2008 10:25:36 AM ET 2008-02-05T15:25:36

A federal judge has reduced by more than half the amount of damages that a fundamentalist Kansas church must pay to the father of a Marine who was killed in Iraq.

The Westboro Baptist Church and three of its members, who picket military funerals out of a belief that the war in Iraq is a punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality, must pay Albert Snyder damages of $5 million for emotional distress and invasion of privacy, U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett ruled Monday. The original jury award in October was $10.9 million.

Bennett's ruling cited the need to weigh any harm Snyder suffered against the financial resources of the church.

Snyder sued the Topeka, Kan., church after a 2006 demonstration at the Maryland funeral of his son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder. He claimed the demonstration intruded upon what should have been a private ceremony and sullied his memory of the event.

A jury agreed, and in October found the church and three of its leaders — Fred Phelps and his two daughters, Shirley Phelps-Roper and Rebekah Phelps-Davis — liable for invasion of privacy and intent to inflict emotional distress.

The church's appeal of the verdict is still pending.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments