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Worcester Pastor Could Be Hit With $500 Fine or Imprisonment If He Does It Again, State Directive Says

May 3, 2020

A Worcester pastor who city officials say will be fined $300 for holding a church service for more than 10 people Sunday could be fined $500 for a subsequent offense or even jailed if he does it again, according to guidelines issued by the state.

Pastor Kris Casey held a church service for several dozen people on Sunday, May 3 at Adams Square Baptist Church in Worcester, against a March 23 executive order from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker limiting most public gatherings to 10 people. The order applies to what it calls “faith-based” events, among others.

It was the second Sunday in a row that Casey held a church service for more than 10 people. On Sunday afternoon, Worcester city manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. announced that Casey will be fined $300 on Monday, May 4, for what city officials are calling a second offense against the governor’s order.

A revised guidance on the governor’s executive order signed by Monica Bharel, the commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, states that a first offense draws a warning, a second offense  may draw a civil citation and up to a $300 fine, and “further offenses which are repeated and willful may be subject to criminal penalties including a fine up to $500 or term of imprisonment or both.”

An image of that portion of the revised guidance, which is dated March 23, is below:



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