CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A constitutional rights organization is suing U.S. Forest Service officials on behalf of a doctor who says his religious freedoms were violated when he was prevented from examining a tree-sitting pipeline protester in Virginia.
The Daily Progress reports the Rutherford Institute filed the lawsuit Wednesday for Dr. Gary Gelburd, who wants the agency to let him examine the woman protesting the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Giles County.
Institute president John Whitehead says Gelburd's medical ministry is a fundamental part of his Christian religious beliefs.
The lawsuit says the protester, identified only as "Nutty," is at risk for severe weight loss, pneumonia and other illnesses because of tactics used by rangers, police and private security contractors. Nutty ascended her tree in February.
Forest Service officials say they haven't reviewed the complaint.