San Francisco, CA, February 2, 2011 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today applauded a third guilty plea stemming from the investigation into the desecration of a Modesto synagogue and two local churches.
The third defendant pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to charges of violating worshippers civil rights. Two other defendants in the case pleaded guilty in January to federal hate crime-related charges and face up to a decade behind bars. All three men will be sentenced in April.
The pleas are the latest development in a long-running investigation into a series of vandalism attacks on houses of worship in Modesto in 2006. Swastikas, satanic imagery and hateful messages were scrawled across religious symbols and the buildings' exteriors.
"We commend local and federal law enforcement and the United States Attorney's Office for their efforts in this disturbing case. The authorities conducted a vigorous investigation and prosecution," stated Daniel S. Sandman, ADL Regional Director. "These hateful acts were attacks on the community's right to worship free from fear and intimidation. A strong message must be sent to those who would consider committing such crimes."