ADL Applauds Ohio Officials for Successful Hate Crime Charge in Church Arson Case

Cleveland, OH, March 10, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the sentencing of a man who set fire to a predominantly Black church in Conneaut, and applauded local officials for pursuing and obtaining hate crime charges in the case.

Nina Sundell, ADL Ohio/Kentucky/Allegheny Regional Director, issued the following statement:

We applaud District Attorney Steve Dettelbach and Ohio local law enforcement for recognizing this senseless act of arson as a hate crime and successfully pursuing the appropriate charges.

Hate crimes negatively impact not only the direct victim, but also carry a message of hate toward a broader community. It is imperative that, as in this particular case, all members of the community, regardless of their racial or religious affiliation, stand up and send a clear message that all people, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, ability, national origin or ethnicity are safe, welcome and protected.

Ronald Pudder pleaded guilty in November to damaging a religious building – the First Azusa Apostolic Faith Church of God in Conneaut. He was sentenced to four years and three months in prison.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.