FORT WORTH — A man accused of setting fire to playground equipment and painting graffiti at an Arlington mosque in July was charged Tuesday with a federal hate crime.
Henry Glaspell of Arlington set fire to playground equipment at the Dar El-Eman Islamic Center, 5511 Mansfield Road, because of the "race, color and ethnic characteristics of the individuals associated with the property," according to the charge.
If convicted on the single count of damaging or destroying religious real property, Glaspell faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Glaspell appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cureton on Tuesday. Glaspell and public defender William Hermesmeyer are expected to return to court today to enter a plea, according to federal officials.
Glaspell and Hermesmeyer declined to comment after Tuesday's hearing.
"We have him on videotape painting the graffiti and then setting the fire," said Jamal Qaddura, a spokesman for the Tarrant County Muslim community. "He was unaware that we have video cameras at the mosque."
The cameras caught Glaspell painting sexually suggestive pictures that were labeled "Uncle Sam" and "Allah" and setting fire to the playground equipment, Qaddura said.
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