US Sheriff's department 'paid evangelicals to turn lesbian straight'

Pink News, Europe/May 27, 2011

A lesbian is suing a sheriff's department in Georgia, USA, after it allegedly paid $600 for two evangelicals to turn her straight.

Amanda Booker, who is now in custody over a separate incident, is suing officials after she claims Bartow County Sheriff's Department in Georgia forced her to attend gay conversion therapy instead of taking her to a drug rehabilitation centre.

Ms Booker claims that the incident that took place in April 2010 violated her constitutional rights and left her traumatised. She says that her family had asked police to commit her to a psychiatric hospital because of a drug addiction but, ignoring a court order, she was transferred into the care of two self-styled evangelical Christians, Chris and Donna McDowell.

Her lawyers claim that officials including Lieutenant Mark Mayton paid the couple $600 out of public funds to convert her sexuality.

Anthony Perrotta, her lawyer, told the GA Voice: "She's not doing well. She's not getting the care she needs for her drug addiction. She's hurting. My first priority is to get her out of prison."

The lawsuit claims it was normal for officers named to "harass homosexuals taken into custody, to mandate that homosexuals taken into custody refrain from living as homosexuals, and to forbid them from maintaining any homosexual relationships".

Ms Booker has since been charged and remanded in custody for allegedly damaging a police car.

Sheriff Clark Milsap told the local newspaper that he denies all allegations concerning the incident and said: "I haven't been served [with papers]. That is the most absurd thing I've ever heard in my life."

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