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New evidence presented in Woodland Park ministry court hearing

WOODLAND PARK, Colo. (KRDO) -- New evidence was presented on Tuesday in the ongoing battle between a Woodland Park ministry and public health leaders.

Andrew Wommack Ministries (AWMI) has another in-person religious conference starting next week where hundreds of people are expected to attend.

Colorado's Attorney General and public health leaders want a judge to force the ministry to comply with public health orders, including capping large indoor gatherings to 175 people, the mask mandate, and social distancing requirements.

The ministry believes they have a constitutional right to meet without capacity restrictions and said they would not enforce conference attendees to wear masks.

The Teller County Administrator Sheryl Decker testified on Monday that five conferences hosted by AWMI since July were in violation of the public health orders and resulted in COVID-19 outbreaks.

While testifying, the administrator also revealed that AWMI failed to provide all the necessary information to contact tracers so they could complete their work for some of those outbreaks.

Lawyers for the ministry took aim at how health officials connected outbreaks to an event and said the system is flawed. AWMI's legal counsel also said it believed it was unconstitutional to restrict religious gatherings but not other businesses like casinos.

Teller County public works officials installed traffic devices to try and estimate how many people attended AWMI's October minister's conference, according to the county administrator.

The county administrator told the judge the traffic tracker counted 1657 vehicles going in and out of the entrance to the October conference in less than 24 hours.

Health officials said they are currently investigating COVID-19 cases potentially connected to the October event but didn't say how many cases.

There is another AWMI in-person conference scheduled for November 6.

Closing arguments are set to begin Wednesday morning. It's unclear when the judge may make a ruling on the restraining order, but health officials are hopeful that it will be made before the next conference.

An attorney for AWMI told KRDO on Tuesday that he doesn't believe the state or county proved their burden or case against the ministry.

Crime / Local News / Teller County / Teller County Crime

Chelsea Brentzel

Chelsea is an investigative reporter for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about Chelsea here.

Comments

13 Comments

  1. This is a Jim Jones Cult. The people that attend these are the same type of people that followed Jim Jones. The seek out the people that can’t think for themselves and they don’t care about their health. People wake up. This so called cult church does not care about you.

    1. You must be an antifa or blm person, one who thinks they can riot / protest and not be held accountable but are OK with restricting religious freedoms. What a sucker you are my sad little friend….

    2. The higher authority they answer to is worse than Jim Jones. Certainly not the carpenter who said, “Love one another.” Not the servant who said, “Welcome the stranger,” or “Do unto others…”

      The higher authority they answer to is the almighty dollar. The one Jesus warned them about.

    1. “Hundreds of Trump supporters stuck on freezing cold Omaha airfield after rally, 7 taken to hospitals
      Overall, 30 people were contacted for medical reasons, the Omaha police department said in a statement.”

      “Oct. 28, 2020, 6:28 AM MDT / Updated Oct. 28, 2020, 10:40 AM MDT
      By Geoff Bennett, Adela Suliman and Caroline Radnofsky
      Hundreds of President Donald Trump supporters were left in the freezing cold for hours after a rally at an airfield in Omaha, Nebraska, on Tuesday night, with some walking around three miles to waiting buses and others being taken away in ambulances”.

      You really need to filter your newsfeed. You’re gonna get left out in the cold.

  2. The state’s attempt to block religious freedom is, without a doubt, a violation of their first amendment rights.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    I ask this again. Can someone point me to the part of the Constitution that lists the exemptions to the first amendment?

  3. I do agree that Andrew Wommack’s campus has something to do with the rise in cases but ALSO the thousands of tourists that came through our area. You have to consider that group as well. They are everywhere, in the stores, restaurants, parks and gift shops. There seems to be an increase in tourist this year as well.

      1. So here is a fun fact. How many of the attendees live and get tested in Teller County? I bet 75% don’t.
        So the cases are coming from other places. People who get the covid at the event then go home their positive test goes towards where they live not where they were. Just saying

  4. It has to be equal and right now the govt is picking and choosing who/what gets restrictions and to what extent.
    Everyone riots and buns neighborhoods down to demand equality then they turn around and don’t think it applies to all of life, especially religion. Funny how that works.

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