The Associated Press
CLEVELAND - A teacher who said a Roman Catholic school fired her because she remarried without obtaining an annulment from the church has sued the school, its principal and a pastor.
Vicki Manno, 47, and her new husband, Michael Yasenchack, 43, filed a lawsuit Friday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court against St. Felicitas Elementary School in suburban Euclid, principal Ann Marie Woyma and the Rev. Richard Bober, pastor of St. Felicitas Church.
The couple is asking for damages in excess of $275,000 and has accused the defendants of breach of contract and age discrimination.
Manno, divorced from her first husband for five years, remarried in June. One month later, Bober fired her after 11 years of teaching at the school.
She said she was fired because church officials had not annulled her first marriage, which lasted for 18 years.
A similar case involving the Covington Diocese was reported last week by the Enquirer.
Angel Meacham, who had taught for 17 years at St. Joseph Elementary School in Crescent Springs, lost her job last month because she was married in a Presbyterian rather than a Catholic church.
Divorced in 1998, Meacham said she could not remarry within her own faith because she had not yet received an annulment of her first union from Catholic authorities.
Under the Covington Diocese's teaching contract, any "grave offense against Catholic doctrine or morality" is grounds for termination.
Although Meacham has an attorney, it is unknown if she plans to pursue legal action against her former employer.
An annulment is a declaration by an ecclesiastical tribunal that a marriage was invalid.
Manno and her husband, who say they are regular churchgoers, consider the annulment process a remnant of the Middle Ages.
"After 18 years of marriage and raising a daughter to adulthood, my ex-husband and I decided there was no point in dragging it out any further," said Manno, who is working as a substitute in public elementary schools until she finds a full-time job.
Manno said she told school officials in January that she had become engaged and planned a wedding June 21.
In May, she signed a contract for the 2003-04 school year. The timing of her firing left her little opportunity to find a new job, she said.
Enquirer reporter Marie McCain contributed.
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