Edmonton police have laid two charges against a 25-year-old man in connection to a hate crime at Edmonton’s Santa Maria Goretti church.
Police say on Dec. 13, a man allegedly interrupted the service with offensive comments and gestures. He also filmed the incident, before posting it on social media.
Edmonton Police say the video has since been removed, and the man was charged with mischief and mischief to religious property, a hate crime under the Criminal Code of Canada.
According to Grandin Media, a website that shares information from the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton, three men used false names to register for the 11 a.m. mass.
The accused then went up to the podium while the pastor was removing the sacred Holy Communion items and started speaking in Italian, before switching to English.
Grandin Media said the man was speaking vulgar profanities, before taking a bottle of wine and opening it.
He was then asked to leave — but instead of doing so, he allegedly exposed his private parts to the congregation.
Then he ran out a side door and scaled a fence in his escape.
In a statement, the Catholic Archdiocese said the accused has been banned from Santa Maria Goretti and all other Archdiocese properties.
“The Archdiocese of Edmonton is grateful for the ongoing support of the Edmonton Police Service. The fact that one of the charges — mischief to religious property — is considered a hate crime, shows the seriousness of the incident,” the statement reads.
“This kind of action cannot, and will not, be tolerated.”
In its own statement, EPS wrote: “Police have made the decision not to release the suspect’s name in order to avoid contributing to social media notoriety and encouraging copycat events.”
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