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Nebraska Prisoner Prevails on Religious Rights Lawsuit

by Edward B. Lyon

On August 21, 2014, a settlement between prisoner Harold Wilson and defendants Diane Sabatka-Rine, Mario Peart and Michael Edison was agreed to by all parties. Nebraska will pay $15,000 in attorney fees and guarantee Wilson access to his Wiccan religious materials and provide worship time according to prison policies. The settlement moots Wilson's failure to protect, retaliation, equal protection, and denial of access to court claims.

Wilson suffers from serious medical conditions including diabetes and kidney disease. He was single-celled for good behavior. This allowed him unlimited use of the cell's toilet, needed as a result of his medical problems.

Wilson was assaulted by a known predator at a religious service on September 1, 2011. He lost his single cell, and prison officials confiscated his Wiccan relics and Book of Shadows as a result.

Wilson was later cleared of disciplinary liability but had been transferred to a more restrictive prison and assigned to a two-person cell. From there he was placed in segregation, then protective custody, due to an anonymous "kite" alleging he was in danger.

See: Wilson v. Sabatka-Rine, et al., U.S.D.C. (D. Neb.)Case No. 4:11cv3215

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