Press Release

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.