- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 23, 2004

UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL

ATLANTA — A federal judge in Atlanta has declined to reinstate a University of Georgia cheerleading coach, saying a lawsuit over her dismissal is likely to fail.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash Jr. told Marilou Braswell he would not give her back her coaching job while her legal case moves forward because he “does not believe that she will prevail on her constitutional claims,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The case began when a Jewish cheerleader complained that she had been singled out because she didn’t share Miss Braswell’s Christian beliefs and was being pressured to attend Bible study in Miss Braswell’s home.

Miss Braswell responded by reading a prepared statement at cheerleading practice denying the cheerleader’s accusations. The university said that showed a lack of judgment and was an attempt to retaliate against the complaining cheerleader, and fired the coach, but said her religious beliefs had nothing to do with the dismissal.

In her lawsuit, Miss Braswell said she was being punished for actions other coaches were allowed in the University of Georgia’s culture of “pervasive religiosity.”

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