Family of 4 charged after nude praying

UPPER DARBY, Pa., March 17 (UPI) -- A Philadelphia family of four were taken into custody after allegedly stripping naked and praying in a parking lot at Upper Darby High School, authorities say.

Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said Sarah Butler, 44, and her children, Joanne Butler, 23, Bessie Butler, 22, and 14-year-old son were arrested about 1 p.m. Friday after being found inside a parked van on the school grounds, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.


Chitwood said the family had arrived at the school about 3 hours earlier to have her biological child released from school, the Delaware County Daily Times reported.

"Because she has no parental rights, school officials would not release the child and said she couldn't take the child out of school," Chitwood said. "They started singing religious songs and lay prone on the sidewalk at the entrance to the building."

When school security ordered them to leave, they returned to the van and took off all their clothes, the Daily Times said.

"They disrobed between parked cars and were running around chanting prayers to Jesus," Chitwood said. "They were running around the lot for 5 to 10 minutes. When police got there, they were in a van and locked their arms in defiant protest. They were chanting 'Jesus is Lord.'"


The three adults were to be charged with defiant trespass, disorderly conduct and open lewdness, with the mother also expected to be charged with corruption of a minor, the Inquirer said. The teenager was placed with Children and Youth Services.

School Principal Chris Dormer called it a "rather bizarre incident" in an announcement made on the school's Web site, the Daily Times reported.

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