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Former military officer Michael Cassidy charged with hate crime for destroying satanic altar at Iowa capitol

A document from Polk County prosecutors alleges that the act was committed "in violation of individual rights" (based on Iowa's hate crimes statute).

El exoficial de la Marina Michael Cassidy, acusado de cometer un delito de odio por destruir un altar satánico en la Legislatura de Iowa

Screenshot video (www.wlbt.com)


Former Navy officer Michael Cassidy was accused of committing a hate crime for destroying a satanic altar at the Iowa capitol in December 2023. The man, a Christian, surrendered to the police after he was caught.

A document from Polk County prosecutors shows that he is being charged with a hate crime and alleges that the act was committed "in violation of individual rights" (under Iowa's hate crimes statute).

"Evidence shows that the defendant made statements to law enforcement and the public indicating he destroyed the property because of the victim's religion," said Lynn Hicks, spokeswoman for the Polk County prosecutor's office.

Cassidy, who was also a candidate for the Mississippi House of Representatives, was initially charged with criminal mischief in the fourth degree (a misdemeanor). At the time, he told The Sentinel website that his "conscience is held captive to by the word of God, not to a bureaucratic decree." That was reflected in his actions.

The former officer has raised more than $84,000 for his defense from nearly 2,000 supporters and is scheduled to be arraigned on February 15.

The statue was strongly criticized

The statue, depicting the horned deity Baphomet, was brought to the state capitol by the Satanic Temple of Iowa. This drew strong criticism from state and national officials and leaders, including Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Florida Governor and former presidential candidate Ron DeSantis.