Hate Crime Charges Dropped Against ‘Satan Statue Destroyer’ Michael Cassidy+ Avoids Jail Time

Hate crime charges have been dropped against Michael Cassidy, the Christian nationalist hero, after he agreed to plead guilty to beheading and destroying a Baphomet statue set up by the Satanic Temple at the Iowa Capitol last December. Under this agreement, Cassidy will receive a $855 fine, two years of probation, and undisclosed determination costs. 

If he had been convicted of the hate crime, he was facing up to two years in prison and a $8,540 fine. According to the Republic Sentinel:

Davis Younts, an attorney who represents Cassidy, said in remarks to The Sentinel that prosecutors “finally agreed to drop the hate crimes enhancement after months-long legal battles over every aspect of this case,” crediting the Americans who supported Cassidy and enabled him to hire multiple attorneys who successfully pressured the state to dismiss the charges.

“It is because of the people that came to his aid and an outstanding legal team that we were able to back the prosecutors into a corner and get this resolution,” Younts said. “Instead of a felony hate crime and jail time, Cassidy received deferred judgment for damage to property and the conviction will be expunged once the court process is complete. Forcing the prosecutors to drop the hate crime is a huge victory for Cassidy and for religious freedom.”

Last year, the Satanic Temple of Iowa, under the guidelines of the Iowa legislature, allowed Satanists to place an idol of Baphomet, a winged, goat-headed, trans-human figure, on display in the vicinity of nativity displays on the first floor of the Iowa Capitol.

The display drew the ire of many Christians, who lamented the blasphemy of placing an idol in the capitol as a sign of the impending judgment of God upon the nation. Some conservative Republicans, while lamenting the statue as blasphemous, defended the existence of the display on the grounds of constitutional freedom of religious expression.

On December 14, Cassidy walked into the Iowa capital building and smashed the Baphomet, decapitating the idol before stuffing its head into a nearby trashcan.

While Cassidy promptly turned himself into capitol police and was initially charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief, raising over $80,000 through crowdfunding for his defense, those charges were elevated to a more severe nature after Polk County prosecutors charged him with felony third-degree criminal mischief with a hate crime enhancement.

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4 thoughts on “Hate Crime Charges Dropped Against ‘Satan Statue Destroyer’ Michael Cassidy+ Avoids Jail Time

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