CARLTON – A 20-year-old Town of Orleans man and two Orleans County teenage boys were all formally charged Tuesday with fourth-degree criminal mischief as a hate crime and other counts for the two cross-shaped grass fires on the lawn outside the World Sufi Foundation Mosque on Fuller Road here Thursday evening.
Jarod Biemans and the two teens, who all agreed to surrender Tuesday, were also charged with first-degree aggravated harassment, fifth-degree arson, second-degree criminal interference with a religious worship and trespass.
During late afternoon arraignments before Carlton Town Judge Kevin Hurley, the three were released to the custody of relatives or their parents pending further court proceedings Sept. 14. The judge also issued orders of protection barring all three suspects from either going near the mosque or trying to contact any of the members of the mosque.
All three were charged with entering the mosque property about 9:30 p.m. Thursday, dumping ignitable fluid in the form of a cross in two sections of the lawn and igniting them.
Because of calls to the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office, all three were confronted Thursday night and agreed Friday to surrender after the Labor Day holiday.
Bilal Huzair, deputy director of the mosque, said in a news release that he wanted all three prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law because, if not, such crimes “could escalate to a degree that we don’t want them to be.”
With the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office reportedly planning to increase patrols near the mosque, Investigator C.J. Laubacher, who led the investigation of the three suspects, issued a statement saying the mosque members are “good people” who use the facility “to worship their religion.”