Arson Charge Filed In Bloomingville Church Fire

By
Bethany Venable
Associated Press

Dateline
Updated Wed, Aug 29, 2012 7:47 am

UPDATE 7:45 A.M. A sheriff says a 36-year-old man claimed he burned down a southeastern Ohio church because he was assaulted by someone there last year.

The pastor at the South Bloomingville Christian Church had suspected that the Aug. 17 arson was a hate crime because the church had welcomed gay, lesbian and transgender people.
 
But Hocking County Sheriff Lanny North says that wasn't the case.
 
He said suspect Donald L. Williams told investigators that the arson was a "revenge crime" for what had happened to him at the church in 2011. North did not release any other details of that alleged incident.
 
North said Williams admitted throwing a rock through a church window and setting fire to a curtain. He was charged with arson Tuesday.

 

A Hocking County man faces arson charges in connection with the fire of a South Bloomingville church earlier this month.

According to Division of State Fire Marshal Spokesman Shane Cartmill, Donald Williams, 36, of South Bloomingville, was arrested on a probation violation charge a week ago.
 
When Hocking County sheriff's detectives interviewed Williams Tuesday morning, he made comments implicating himself in the arson fire of the Bloomingville Christian Church on August 17.
 
The fire completely destroyed the building.
 
The church's pastor said he believed the fire was set in response to the church's support of gay and lesbians congregants.
 
The building was insured for $300,000.
 
The pastor said they plan to rebuild.
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