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Judge orders Salem library to stop blocking internet sites

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A federal judge has ordered a small library in southern Missouri to stop blocking access to websites related to Wicca and other minority religions, calling it a violation of patrons' First Amendment rights.

U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber issued the ruling Tuesday in St. Louis in a case involving the Salem Public Library.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued last year on behalf of Salem resident Anaka Hunter. Salem is a largely Christian community of 5,000 residents in the Missouri Ozarks.

The suit said Hunter was trying to do research at the library but filtering software blocked access to sites about things such as Wicca, a pagan religion that worships nature and involves witchcraft.

The library director declined comment Wednesday.

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