The Santa Clara County Superior Court ruled today that Calvary Chapel San Jose and its head pastor, Mike McClure, were in contempt of court for repeatedly violating a temporary restraining order mandating that the church stop holding unlawful indoor gatherings and require that its congregants wear face coverings and maintain physical distance during services.
In October, County of Santa Clara County Counsel James R. Williams and District Attorney Jeff F. Rosen filed the lawsuit against Calvary and McClure for repeatedly holding indoor gatherings—often with hundreds of unmasked congregants—that violated the State and County Health Officers’ public health orders. The court granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) on November 2, but Calvary and McClure have repeatedly defied the TRO since it was issued.
After a hearing today, Judge Peter H. Kirwan found Calvary and McClure in contempt, and ordered them to pay monetary sanctions and fines for every day they had violated the November 2 TRO.
“Given the current surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, it is absolutely vital for all individuals and entities to urgently and fully comply with all public health orders,” said Williams. “These public health orders are literally a matter of life and death; they are designed to reduce COVID-19 transmission, avoid serious illness, and save lives. This entity’s ongoing violations put the whole community at risk, and they won’t be tolerated.”
The County is continuing to work with the wider faith-based community to continue to ensure that there are lawful and lower-risk alternatives available for worship, including live-streamed services and small outdoor worship services.
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