US man gets 14 yrs prison for burning black church

A white man was sentenced to nearly 14 years prison for setting a predominantly black church on fire to protest the election of Barack Obama.

Washington: A white man was sentenced to
nearly 14 years prison for setting a predominantly black
church on fire to protest the election of Barack Obama as the
first African-American US president, the Justice Department
said.

Early November 5, 2008, within hours of Obama being
elected president, Michael Jacques and his co-conspirators
burned down "the Macedonia Church of God in Christ`s newly
constructed building where religious services were to be held
for its predominantly African-American congregation," the
Justice Department said yesterday.

The building, located in Springfield, in the northeastern
state of Massachusetts, was almost complete at the time of the
fire, but the blaze "destroyed nearly the entire structure,
leaving only the metal superstructure and a small portion of
the front corner intact."

Jacques, now 27, was sentenced yesterday in Boston to 166
months in prison followed by four years of supervised release
and ordered to pay more than USD 1.5 million in restitution
for civil rights charges stemming from the arson, the Justice
Department said.

Jacques was found guilty in mid-April of conspiracy
against civil rights, damage or destruction of religious
property, and use of fire to commit a felony for his
involvement in the arson, the Justice Department said.

"Racial violence and intimidation have no place in our
society," said Thomas Perez, a senior official at the Justice
Department`s Civil Rights Division.

Jacques`s co-conspirators, Benjamin Haskell and Thomas
Gleason, pleaded guilty to civil rights charges in June.
Haskell was sentenced to nine years prison in November, while
Gleason is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

PTI

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