The Creativity Movement: Chronology of Crime

March 15, 2005


 Since its founding in 1973 as Church of the Creator, the group now known as the Creativity Movement has been associated with violent criminal activity ranging from hate crimes to acts of terrorism.  Here are some selected criminal incidents from the past 15 years.  From 1996 to 2002, it was called the World Church of the Creator.  Following its loss in a trademark infringement lawsuit in 2002, it has been known as the Creativity Movement.

  • August 6, 2004, Pennsylvania - Hardy Lloyd, of Pittsburgh, a former local leader of the Creativity Movement, was arrested on homicide charges in connection with the August 3, 2004, shooting death of Lori Fann, his girlfriend. 
  • April 26, 2004, Illinois - Matthew Hale, the leader of the Creativity Movement, was convicted of soliciting the murder of U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow after she ordered him to change the name of his group and take other compliance measures as part of a trademark lawsuit lost by Hale and his group. Hale was also found guilty of obstructing justice.
  • March 1, 2004, Nevada - Anthony Prentice was convicted of first-degree murder for killing and mutilating a Las Vegas driving instructor in 2002.  During his trial, Prentice testified about his hate for minorities and his involvement with the World Church of the Creator.  Prentice was sentenced to life without parole.
  • March 13, 2003, Massachusetts - Erica Chase was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison for her role in a conspiracy to blow up Jewish and African-American landmarks in 2001 in order to start a race war.  Chase, a member of the World Church of the Creator, was convicted along with her boyfriend, Leo Felton, 32, a member of the White Order of Thule, who was sentenced in December 2002 to nearly 22 years in prison.
  • August 2002, Australia - Patrick O’Sullivan of Victoria, the Australian leader of the World Church of the Creator, was convicted of assaulting and stabbing in 1999 a former supporter who had criticized him.
  • July 8, 2002, Massachusetts - Tony Menear, Massachusetts leader of World Church of the Creator, returned to prison for violating his parole, which stemmed from an earlier armed robbery conviction.  According to officials, Menear failed to refrain from associating with people with criminal records.
  • April 29, 2002, Indiana - White supremacist Trevor D. Thompson pleaded guilty to attempted murder in Marion County for shooting an African-American teenager in Indianapolis in the summer of 2001.  According to police, Thompson was angry that two black men had criticized his many white supremacist tattoos, and he shot a 13-year-old girl who happened to be walking down the street.  Thompson, who admitted to being involved with the Nazi Low Riders and the World Church of the Creator, was sentenced to 30 years in prison. 
  • December 11, 2001, Connecticut - Charles Cornelius of New Haven was arrested after police found a cache of weapons and hate literature from the World Church of the Creator in the house where he lived with his parents.  Police seized several AR-15 assault weapons, a shotgun, 25 hand grenades, 300 pounds of ammonium nitrate and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.  According to police, Cornelius also used the identity of a dead Pennsylvania resident to buy an illegal sniper rifle.  Cornelius later pleaded guilty, in 2004, to federal charges of identity theft and unlawfully transporting firearms across state lines, and to state charges of attempting to manufacture a bomb and possession of an assault weapon.
  • July 3, 2001, California - In Sacramento, Joshua Mark Gilmore, a member of a white power street gang and the World Church of the Creator, was found guilty on five charges, including attempted murder, for assaults on two people mistaken as members of an anti-racist skinhead group in 1997.  He was sentenced to life in prison.
  • March 13, 2001, New York - Bruce Silvernail, of Plymouth, Connecticut, pleaded guilty to a federal gun possession charge related to a traffic stop 30 miles north of Albany, New York, in August 2000.  Police in found a shotgun, automatic rifle, revolver and ammunition in his car.  Silvernail, a convicted felon, is not allowed to own or possess firearms.  Police also found books, business cards, and videos from the white supremacist World Church of the Creator in Silvernail’s car. 
  • March 10, 2000, Florida - World Church of the Creator member Ray Leone was sentenced to six years and member Angela King sentenced to 18 months for their role in the 1998 beating of a Jewish owner of a video store in Hollywood, Florida, patterned after incidents in the white supremacist novel The Turner Diaries.   Earlier, in March 1999, member Donald Hansard, Jr., received a four and a half year sentence for his role in the robbery and beating.  A fourth member, Dawn Witherspoon, received a thirteen month sentence.  The perpetrators, who all pled guilty, had discussed sending some of the proceeds of their robbery to World Church of the Creator headquarters in Illinois.
  • November 19, 1999, Florida - Former Florida leader of the World Church of the Creator Jules Fettu was sentenced to five years in prison for attacking a Cuban-American man and his son outside a rock concert in 1997.  The two had refused to accept racist fliers that Fettu and other members were passing out.  Member Ray Leone received a nearly eight-year sentence in July 1999 for aggravated battery as a hate crime for his role in the attack.  The group’s local “security director,” Guy Lombardi, received a sentence of four years of probation for threatening a member who spoke to police.
  • October 4, 1999, Florida - World Church of the Creator member Jody Lee Mathis of Ft. Lauderdale pleaded guilty to federal charges of selling a stolen shotgun.  Mathis was the seventh local member of the organization to be found guilty of a variety of crimes ranging from armed robbery to assault to witness tampering.  All but one reached plea deals.
  • July 4, 1999, Illinois, Indiana - White supremacist Benjamin Smith, a devoted follower of the World Church of the Creator, embarked upon a shocking killing spree.  Smith killed two people and wounded seven others—including Jews and other all ethnic or religious minorities in Chicago, Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, and Bloomington, Indiana—before killing himself as police closed in on him.  Smith’s rampage was triggered by the denial of a law license to the group’s leader Matt Hale by the Illinois state bar.
  • September 28, 1994, Washington - Tacoma resident Wayne Paul Wooten, Jr. was sentenced to nearly five years in prison for helping to bomb a Seattle gay bar in 1993, as well as for other explosives and weapons charges.  Wooten, a member of the Church of the Creator, pleaded guilty in February 1994.  Also arrested at the time were Jeremiah Gordon Knesal and Mark Kowalski.  Kowalski was later sentenced to nearly 12 years in prison for bombing an NAACP office, while Knesal was sentenced to six and one-half years in prison.
  • February 1, 1994, California - Jill Marie Scarborough was sentenced to one year of probation for possessing an unregistered sawed-off shotgun.  Scarborough and her boyfriend, Geremy C. Von Rineman, a member of the Church of the Creator, were among a number of skinheads arrested in southern California as the result of a 1993 investigation.  Von Rineman earlier pleaded guilty to a felony weapons violation and was sentenced to a supervised 18-month diversion program as an alternative to prison.
  • January 4, 1994, Maryland - Charles Edward Altvater, leader of the Church of the Creator in Baltimore, pleaded guilty to bombing a police officer’s house and another officer’s patrol car in 1992 after police towed his car away.  Altvater was sentenced to 25 year in prison.
  • May 17, 1993, Canada - Richard Manley, 26, pleaded guilty to illegally possessing weapons in Toronto.  Although Manley denied during the trial that he was a member of the Church of the Creator, he admitted attending their meetings, and video footage played at his trial showed him holding the Creativity flag and standing at attention while the group’s leader delivered a speech.  He was found with 13 firearms, including an Uzi, and a thousand rounds of ammunition.
  • August 12, 1992, Florida - George Loeb, a leader in the Church of the Creator, was sentenced to life in prison for the killing an African-American sailor who had just returned to Jacksonville, Florida, from the Gulf War.  Loeb shot Harold Mansfield, 22, in Jacksonville after a traffic altercation on May 17, 1991, and the state argued that his writings proved premeditation.  This incident sparked a civil lawsuit against the Church of the Creator and its founder, Ben Klassen, which seemed to have played a role in Klassen’s 1993 suicide.