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Nuns sue strip club near their Chicago-area convent

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[June 18, 2014]  By Mary Wisniewski
 
 CHICAGO (Reuters) - A group of Chicago-area nuns is suing a strip club behind their convent, complaining of noise, glaring neon lights, fist fights and heaps of litter that include empty whiskey bottles and used condoms.

The Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo said Illinois mandates a 1,000-foot (300-meter) buffer zone between adult entertainment venues and places of worship or schools. The suit, filed on Friday in Cook County, also names the village of Stone Park, where the strip club is located.

The $3 million Club Allure opened last September across the back fence of the convent, which has three chapels, a home for retired sisters, and a house for young women thinking about becoming nuns, the nuns' lawyers said.

"The Sisters have every right to pray and work peacefully without disruption from a strip club in their backyard," Peter Breen, the lawyer for the nuns, said in a statement.

A representative for the club was not immediately available for comment.

Stone Park attorney Dean Krone said on Tuesday that the 1,000-foot limit applies to most of the state, but a one-mile (1.6 km) restriction applies to suburban Cook County, which includes Stone Park.

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He said the Cook County limit is unconstitutional because it would prohibit any kind of strip club in the small towns in the county, which would violate free speech protections.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Eric Beech)

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