CARLTON, N.Y. (WIVB) — Three people accused of burning two crosses into the lawn of a local mosque appeared in court on Tuesday before being released to the custody of their families.
Police in Orleans County, New York say the three people are accused of outlining the crosses in the grass with accelerant before igniting them. Each surrendered himself to police on Tuesday to be processed and arraigned.
Two of those who are charged are underage, but 20-year-old Jarod Biemans is also charged in connection with the crime. Police say all three are facing charges of first degree aggravated harassment, fifth degree arson, second degree criminal interference with religious worship, fourth degree criminal mischief as a hate crime and trespassing.
Lead investigator for the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office C.J. Laubacher worked to solve the crime, making three identifications not a day after the crime that he described as a bias crime.
“It’s a place for people to worship their religion; they’re not bad people, they’re good people,” Laubacher said.
Orleans County Sheriff’s Deputies say the three youths will have orders of protection to stay away from the church and its congregation.
Each will return to court in the Town of Carlton on Sept. 14.