An Everett teenager faces a misdemeanor charge for allegedly "desecrating" a statue of Jesus outside a religious center in his hometown, an act that drew violent threats online.
In a report issued Tuesday, state police said the 14-year-old boy posted photographs of the desecration on the Internet. Photos on his Facebook page dating to July appear to show the boy standing over a statue of a kneeling Jesus, simulating a sex act.
Police said the act took place at Love In the Name of Christ, also called Love INC, a national Christian service and charity group with an Everett branch.
While police released few details and didn't mention the juvenile's name, the Bedford County Free Press - an online news organization that shares police reports and gossip - first discussed the case last month, posting the photos and sharing the child's name and hometown.
Hundreds of comments followed, many from outraged county residents. Several posted violent threats. A new post on the charges has drawn more threats.
"Break his arms and legs, teach him some respect," one read.
The Bedford County Free Press' proprietor, Randy Delozier, did not respond to a request for comment.
The teenager's juvenile court charge, formally titled "desecration, theft or sale of a venerated object," is a second-degree misdemeanor in the Pennsylvania Code. The law defines desecration as "defacing, damaging, polluting or otherwise physically mistreating in a way that the actor knows will outrage the sensibilities" of people who learn of the action.
Charges under the 1972 law appear to be rare: The last case to make widespread news in Pennsylvania was in 2010, when a Wilkes-Barre college student urinated on a Christmas Nativity scene. The student in that case pleaded guilty and apologized publicly.
Bedford County District Attorney Bill Higgins did not return a call seeking comment. An employee at the Bedford County Prothonotary's Office said charging documents in the juvenile case are sealed from public access.
Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.