DOJ Charges White Lives Matter Member Who Firebombed Church Over Drag Shows

The Department of Justice has charged an Ohio man who allegedly attempted to burn down a church as a result of his homophobic views. Twenty-year-old Aimenn D. Penny faces up to 50 years in prison for his actions.

via: Law & Crime

Aimenn Penny, 20, of Alliance, Ohio, is accused of trying to burn the Community Church of Chesterland to the ground. In the early morning hours of March 25, prosecutors allege, he tossed the Molotov cocktails at the church “with the intent to burn the structure,” according to a probable cause affidavit for his arrest.

The church, a United Church of Christ affiliate that bills itself as “an Open and Affirming Church” where people “previously excluded” from places of worship “can safely gather to fight for social justice and human rights issues,” was set to host two drag show events on April 1, according to the affidavit.

In total, two signs and a door were damaged.

“Penny stated that he was trying to protect children and stop the drag show event,” the affidavit says. “Penny described using bottles from his bedroom and detailed the ingredients and steps he used to build and use the devices.”

Right-wing and extremist voices have used increasingly provocative rhetoric against drag events in recent years, accusing performers and participants of sexualizing and “grooming” children.

Before tossing the incendiary devices at the Ohio church, Penny had apparently become “more and more angry after watching internet videos of news feeds and drag shows in France and decided to attack the church,” the affidavit says.

He was apparently disappointed with the results.

“Penny stated that he would have felt better if the Molotov cocktails were more effective and burned the entire church to the ground,” the affidavit says.

Penny is charged with violating the Church Arson Prevention Act and malicious use of explosive materials, both of which carry a minimum of five years and maximum of 20 years in prison, according to a Justice Department press release. He is also charged with using fire to commit a federal felony, which carries a 10-year mandatory prison sentence, and possession of a destructive device, which carries up to 10 years behind bars.

According to prosecutors, the attempted attack preceded what was shaping up to be a potentially violent confrontation at the drag events.

“Open source searches revealed that individuals plan to be present and armed en masse at the events to protest,” the affidavit said. “Representatives of CCC reported that they received hate mail and messages containing non-specific threats of protest and violence against the drag events.”

However, as the church proudly noted on April 1, the events went forward with the protection and support of the surrounding community.

“The only memory resulting from the day’s event at the church was Joy and Love!” the church posted on Facebook.

Share This Post