Woman in Fight Over Cross Fears for Safety

Ann Marie Devaney placed the cross near where her son was struck and killed. She plans to remove it after demands from a resident who complained it violates the Constitution

View Comments (


    A Lake Elsinore woman who spearheaded an effort to have roadside crosses near her home taken down, citing they violated her constitutional rights, now fears for her life. Tony Shin reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. Monday, March 10, 2014.

    A Lake Elsinore woman who spearheaded an effort to have roadside crosses near her home taken down, claiming the memorial for a slain 19-year violated her constitutional rights, fears for her safety.

    Family Vows to Fight After Crosses Removed

    [LA] Family Vows to Battle On After Memorial Crosses Removed
    A controversy involving a roadside memorial took center stage in Lake Elsinore on Thursday. Two memorial crosses were dedicated to a young man who died there two years ago, but the boy's mother was ordered to take them down. Tony Shin reports from Lake Elsinore for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Friday March 6, 2014.

    The woman, who refused to be named, spoke days after a story that created a firestorm of emotion from people who believe their religious freedom is under attack.

    It centered around two crosses that Ann Marie Devaney put up along Lake Street to honor her 19-year-old son, Anthony, who died after being hit by a car there two years ago.

    Mother: Roadside Cross Dispute "Petty and Sad"

    [LA] Mother: Roadside Cross Dispute "Petty and Sad"
    The mother of a 19-year-old man killed as her crossed a street reacts to complaints about a roadside cross she placed in his memory. Jacob Rascon reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Thursday March 6, 2014.

    The mother was ordered to take the crosses down after a judge ruled it violated the separation of church and state.

    Since the crosses were removed Thursday, others have been putting up other crosses and signs.

    "I'm afraid when people's emotions take the best of them, they don't always rationally behave and I'm a target,” said the woman behind the push to get the crosses removed.

    The woman, who describes herself not as an atheist, but a non theist, she said she feels compassion for Anthony Devaney’s mother.

    But she says the crosses violate the constitution when it comes to separation of church and state. That’s why she pushed Lake Elsinore city leaders to take them down.

    The woman and another man also fought the city over the design of a proposed veterans war monument, which has religious symbols.

    A federal judge recently sided with the woman.

    She also says she's not waging a personal war against religion. She said her fight is about equality.

    She said she drives down the road everyday. She plans to call the city anytime more crosses are put up.

    It’s still not fair,” Devaney said. “There’s no reason why the cross had to come down. The cross is up here for Anthony.”

    The American Humanist Association also successfully fought Lake Elsinore's plan for a veterans monument that depicted a service member kneeling next to a cross at a grave site. In a February ruling, a U.S. District Court judge ruled the planned memorial -- which must be redesigned -- at a minor league baseball stadium was unconstitutional.

    Follow NBCLA for the latest LA news, events and entertainment: iPhone/iPad App | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | RSS | Text Alerts | Email Alerts