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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 22Jan02
By Kent Larsen
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Police Label Attack on LDS Chapel a Hate Crime

MOORPARK, CALIFORNIA -- While a vandalism attack on an LDS Chapel Tuesday, January 15th, resulted in only $1,000 in damage, local police are still investigating the attack as a hate crime. Vandals scrawled graffiti on the pulpit, set fire to a set of scriptures and desecrated a painting of Christ's second coming sometime between 10 p.m. Tuesday and 6 a.m. Wednesday. Police so far have no suspects or witnesses.

The vandalism occurred in the Moorpark 1st Ward chapel, located across the street from Moorpark College. Senior Deputy Sherrif Ed Tumbleson expressed surprise at the attack, "It's not often we have this type of thing in Moorpark. I don't think someone traveled miles to do this." And local LDS Church leaders are "distressed and confused" by the incident because its the first attack in the building's 15-year history. Thousand Oaks Stake President Richard Taylor told the Los Angeles Times, "I'm concerned that there is someone out there with the wrong impression of the church. Why in the world would you do this? What would make you think it was something you needed to express?" Taylor said that the Church is taking steps to ensure that the vandalism isn't repeated.

Moorpark 1st Ward Bishop Peter Meline said that the perpetrator must have either had a key to the building or came in during meetings Tuesday evening and hid in the building until everyone else had left. There were no signs of forced entry on doors or windows, but several wire screens were ripped. The vandalism included lighted cigarettes smashed into the face of Christ in the painting, burning a copy of the Book of Mormon on the pulpit, carving profanity and the word "Satan" into the pulpit and nearby sacrament table with a ballpoint pen, and razor cuts in several pews. Work crews on Thursday were rushing to finish repairs for meetings this past weekend.

Police say this is the second case of vandalism against a religious facility in eastern Ventura county in the last seven months. Last June an Islamic Center in Conejo Valley was vandalized, and police still have no suspects in that attack.


Vandalism at Moorpark Mormon Church Probed as Hate Crime
Los Angeles Times 18Jan02 D1
By Timothy Hughes: Times Staff Writer


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