The nuns of the Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo in Stone Park, Illinois, now can “worship, garden, eat, sleep, and pray … in peace” after a neighboring strip club was closed down.
The Thomas More Society represented the nuns in their case against Club Allure.
WND reported the city had revoked the strip club’s liquor license, which apparently proved to be a turning point.
“Why a strip club would choose to set up shop in a residential area, much less next to a convent, completely eludes me,” said Thomas More Society Special Counsel Joan Mannix.
“We couldn’t be more delighted that this club is out of business. We’re pleased that the sisters and their neighbors can live without the profound negative effects created by having a strip club just feet away from their homes.”
The Thomas More Society said the “notorious strip club closed forever.”
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The organization explained the face-off between Club Allure and its neighboring convent began in March 2012. Over the next few years, lawyers filed multiple rounds of legal complaints, and the nuns staged community protests, bringing the story of “sisters versus strip club” into national headlines.
There were various complaints, ranging from noise violations to prostitution, that had been filed over the years.
It was the Stone Park Liquor Commission that revoked the license that previously had been given to Club Allure, based on a city ordinance forbidding a liquor license within 100 feet of a church.
The city’s liquor control commissioner signed the order revoking the license.
The city, according to Thomas More, “relied upon the facts presented in a similar case in which the courts held that a convent chapel, like the three chapels located on the property of the Missionary Sisters, was a ‘church’ based on evidence that it was open to the public for mass, benediction, prayers and devotions and contained all the necessities for the ordinary functions of a Catholic church.”
The order was signed by Benamino Mazzulla, who is both mayor and liquor control commissioner. He cited the city’s ban on liquor licenses within 100 feet of a church.
Then he wrote: “The Sisters’ property is one contiguous campus that shall be considered as a whole for the purposes of measuring the 100 foot distance. The evidence shows that the Sisters’ property includes three churches and that the Sisters’ property abuts the Club Allure property.
“The evidence further shows that the building that houses Fatima House includes a ‘church’ and that this building spans multiple parcels, including the parcel that abuts Club Allure’s property. … The Sisters’ campus, which includes three churches, abuts the Club Allure property, which makes the relevant distance zero. Accordingly, the licenses issued to licenesee are in violation of Section 111.05(c) of the Village Code because Club Allure is within 100 feet of three churches.”
There also had been multiple incidents of public violence, fights, mob action and battery there, Thomas More said.
City officials allegedly had decided to grant a variety of permissions to the strip club to operate to resolve a lawsuit its owners had brought against the city. But then they allegedly failed to properly notify neighbors and follow the rules for rezoning property for adult entertainment.