The statue was brought to the Capitol by the Satanic Temple of Iowa under state rules allowing religious displays in the building during the holidays. The move drew strong criticism from state and national leaders, including Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Florida Gov. and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, both Republicans. On Dec. 14, the figure depicting the horned deity Baphomet was “destroyed beyond repair,” according to the group.
Michael Cassidy, a former congressional and legislative candidate from Mississippi, was charged the next day with fourth-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor. He told the conservative website The Sentinel that “my conscience is held captive to the word of God, not to bureaucratic decree. And so I acted.”
Now, Polk County prosecutors have charged Cassidy with a more serious offense, the Des Moines Register reported. A document made public Tuesday charged him with felony third-degree criminal mischief. It alleges the act was committed “in violation of individual rights” under Iowa’s hate crime statute.
Lynn Hicks, a spokesman for the Polk County Attorney’s Office said in a statement that based on information from the Satanic Temple, the cost to replace or repair the statue would be between $750 and $1,500, making its destruction an aggravated misdemeanor. (In fact, the Temple has filed a damage estimate putting the cost to replace the statute at $3,000.) What makes the charge a felony, Hicks said, is the hate crime statute.
Last December News Views ran a discussion titled “Christian Tears Down, Beheads Satanic Statue In Iowa Capitol”