Magazine article The Christian Century

Indiana Man Charged with Burning Churches

Magazine article The Christian Century

Indiana Man Charged with Burning Churches

Article excerpt

An Indiana man has been charged with burning seven churches in the southern part of that state since 1994, the Justice Department has announced. Two other people are also defendants in one of the arsons. Jay Scott Ballinger, 36, of Yorktown, Indiana, was charged February 21 with setting the seven fires in several counties. Donald A. Puckett, 37, of Lebanon, Indiana, and Angela Wood, 24, of Athens, Georgia, were charged with burning the Concord Church of Christ in 1994 in Lebanon.

Authorities allege that the perpetrators defaced the Lebanon church with satanic symbols before it was destroyed. The charges came as a result of continuing work of the National Church Arson Task Force, which includes local, state and federal authorities. "These fires may have scorched the structures, but they did not sear the spirit of the communities in which the churches are located," said Bill Lann Lee, acting assistant attorney general for civil rights, who co-chairs the task force with a Treasury Department official. …

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