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Boy Charged For Desecration Of Jesus Statue


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what he did was stupid but it is not like he damaged the statue. and who knows maybe god got a chuckle out of it.

http://thesmokinggun.com/documents/teen ... tue-675432

SEPTEMBER 10--A Pennsylvania teenager has been charged with desecrating a statue of Jesus after he posted Facebook photos that showed him simulating a sex act with the statue.

According to State Police officials, the boy posed for the photos in late-July in front of Love In the Name of Christ, a Christian organization in Everett, the boy’s hometown.

The teenager, who was not identified by cops, was charged yesterday with desecration of a venerated object, a misdemeanor. His case will be handled in juvenile court.

The teenager, who was not identified by cops, was charged yesterday with desecration of a venerated object, a misdemeanor. His case will be handled in juvenile court.

pajesusstatue_zps73227287.jpg

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Not sure about "desecration" as a legal charge as not everyone agrees what a venerated object is or should be. But it could be considered trespassing and he should have some penalty or consequence as he easily could have damaged it by climbing on it/sitting on it. And no matter how you feel about religion, people don't get to trespass or damage the property of others for their own amusement.

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Am I right in thinking that idiot pastor who set fire to the qu'ran wasn't prosecuted? Why should this be any different? There is no state religion in the USA and both the qu'ran and statues of Jesus are venerated by different people.

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Am I right in thinking that idiot pastor who set fire to the qu'ran wasn't prosecuted? Why should this be any different? There is no state religion in the USA and both the qu'ran and statues of Jesus are venerated by different people.

It wasn't someone else's Qu'ran. If he'd gone into a mosque and took one to burn, he would have been charged. This statue does not belong to this kid. If he gets his own Jesus statue (or any other statue), he can do whatever he wants with it.

Do we not respect people's property if it is something religious in nature? Can someone come pee on my crucifix but not on my couch? Is that how we want it to work?

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I think that picture is hilarious, but I also think it is wrong to trespass and help yourself to the property of others. If I were that kid's parent it would be very difficult for me to discipline/lecture him while keeping a straight face, but I think I would feel obliged to try. Perhaps if that were my kid I could send him a strongly worded email, that way he'd get the message and I wouldn't have to worry about cracking up.

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I wouldn't consider what he did to be trespassing. If they told him to leave and he didn't, then they might have some legal grounds - but they didn't charge him with that.

As for the "desecration of a venerated object" I hope he lawyers up and gets the charge dropped... He could argue he was making a political statement and he was expressing his First Amendment right through art (photography and drama)

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I wouldn't consider what he did to be trespassing. If they told him to leave and he didn't, then they might have some legal grounds - but they didn't charge him with that.

As for the "desecration of a venerated object" I hope he lawyers up and gets the charge dropped... He could argue he was making a political statement and he was expressing his First Amendment right through art (photography and drama)

very true, it's all in the wording of the charges.

i think if this really goes through, the courts will start a whole shitstorm. y'all remember the one court that allowed the ten commandments to stay on site because it was "privately funded", so a bunch of satanists pooled their money to make a statue of baphomet to put on the site near it? iirc, after a bunch of trouble, they finally had the ten commandments taken down.

there is definitely a bias in this country when it comes to religion. but if you try hard enough, you can call them out on their bullshit. it's too bad that the statue of baphomet is basically going to go to waste, now, since it was already cast and made and everything. :/

*edited to add* i remember hearing about some town in kansas, i think, who ruled that there either could or should be a prayer said before a town meeting, or something to that effect. i had been so wishing it was near me, because i totally would have gone just to get up there and offer a prayer to athena. and if anyone tried to protest, i woulda thrown it back at them saying that "prayer" was not specified to be one to the christian god, and futhermore i would think it more productive to pray to the goddess of wisdom before a meeting ;) lol

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From Reddit (reddit.com/r/law/comments/2fz149/pennsylvania_14yearold_charged_with_desecrating_a/), here is the wording of the statute in question:

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5509 provides, in relevant part:

(a) Offense defined.--A person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if he:

(1) intentionally desecrates any public monument or structure, or place of worship or burial;

(2) if he intentionally desecrates any other object of veneration by the public or a substantial segment thereof in any public place....

And here's the (lack of) definitions:

(b) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection: "Desecrate." Defacing, damaging, polluting or otherwise physically mistreating in a way that the actor knows will outrage the sensibilities of persons likely to observe or discover the action.

Technically, it looks like what he did could fall into this, specifically since he posted the picture on Facebook. I should note that I think the kid made a stupid decision and needs to learn about what should be posted online, but I don't think he should be charged with the crime.

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gotta love the asshats who attack others without cleaning their closets first.

DA Who Went After Kid For Jesus Statue Prank Is An Adulterous Porn Addict

We always say how people who moralize the most usually have a few not so savory skeletons in their own closets. That theory is, once again, proven to be quite accurate. Meet Bedford County, PA District Attorney Bill Higgins. In case you weren’t aware, he is the same man who is viciously going after a 14-year-old boy for what most people would consider a harmless, youthful prank: simulating oral sex with a statue of Jesus. According to The Raw Story, Higgins used an old law from 1972 to be able to enforce his personal code of morals on the boy, calling him a “troubled young man†whose actions were offensive to the morals of the community in Everett, PA. Higgins says of the boy’s display:

His actions constitute a violation of the law, and he will be prosecuted accordingly. If that tends to upset the ‘anti-Christian, ban-school-prayer, war-on-Christmas, oppose-display-of-Ten-Commandments’ crowd, I make no apologies.

Well, it is clear from these remarks that Mr. Higgins only wants to prove a point, and to prosecute someone for something that is technically illegal, but, more importantly (to him, at least) offends his religious sensibilities. Well, if he is so worried about morals, Bill Higgins should look to himself first, because we’ve found out plenty that he has done that is a whole lot more scandalous than a teenager posting a blasphemous photo of a Jesus statue as a Facebook status.

Apparently, Mr. Higgins is a fan of pornography. Now, personally, I have no issue with pornography, just since no one is harmed during its production. However, the “family values†crowd that Bill Higgins is a member of usually does, no matter how many of them get caught with that and worse. Recently – very recently, in fact — Higgins posted up a link from his personal account on YouTube to an interview that shock jock Howard Stern did with adult film star Nick Manning. In the interview, entitled Dropping Loads with Nick Manning, Stern and Manning discuss Manning’s use of the phrase ‘dropping loads.’ Now, most people would say, “who cares†when it comes to someone using his personal time in this fashion, whether they approved or not. But, for all his moralizing, it seems that Higgins is pretty dirty himself.

As if the porn wasn’t enough, Higgins also admitted to an extramarital affair, which he conducted out of his office. He admitted to having sex with a woman in his office at the courthouse after a Bedford County Repbulicans meeting. The woman eventually sued him for sexual harassment, but the charges were dropped. What do you want to bet she was pressured into dropping them, seeing how Higgins was the vice-chair of the organization at the time of the office sex?

This man has some nerve, talking about what offends anyone’s morals, considering what kind of person he is. He’s hardly moral, but he is a hypocrite, and vindictive to boot.

The ACLU is looking into this incident. Hopefully, the charges will be dropped.

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If it's on public property and he wasn't hopping fences, no charges. If it's on private property, trespassing is the only possibly charge. If merely disrespecting a statue of Jesus is desecration, then burning other religions' texts needs to be desecration.

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gotta love the asshats who attack others without cleaning their closets first.

We always say how people who moralize the most usually have a few not so savory skeletons in their own closets. That theory is, once again, proven to be quite accurate. Meet Bedford County, PA District Attorney Bill Higgins. In case you weren’t aware, he is the same man who is viciously going after a 14-year-old boy for what most people would consider a harmless, youthful prank: simulating oral sex with a statue of Jesus. According to The Raw Story, Higgins used an old law from 1972 to be able to enforce his personal code of morals on the boy, calling him a “troubled young man†whose actions were offensive to the morals of the community in Everett, PA. Higgins says of the boy’s display:

His actions constitute a violation of the law, and he will be prosecuted accordingly. If that tends to upset the ‘anti-Christian, ban-school-prayer, war-on-Christmas, oppose-display-of-Ten-Commandments’ crowd, I make no apologies.

Well, it is clear from these remarks that Mr. Higgins only wants to prove a point, and to prosecute someone for something that is technically illegal, but, more importantly (to him, at least) offends his religious sensibilities. Well, if he is so worried about morals, Bill Higgins should look to himself first, because we’ve found out plenty that he has done that is a whole lot more scandalous than a teenager posting a blasphemous photo of a Jesus statue as a Facebook status.

Apparently, Mr. Higgins is a fan of pornography. Now, personally, I have no issue with pornography, just since no one is harmed during its production. However, the “family values†crowd that Bill Higgins is a member of usually does, no matter how many of them get caught with that and worse. Recently – very recently, in fact — Higgins posted up a link from his personal account on YouTube to an interview that shock jock Howard Stern did with adult film star Nick Manning. In the interview, entitled Dropping Loads with Nick Manning, Stern and Manning discuss Manning’s use of the phrase ‘dropping loads.’ Now, most people would say, “who cares†when it comes to someone using his personal time in this fashion, whether they approved or not. But, for all his moralizing, it seems that Higgins is pretty dirty himself.

As if the porn wasn’t enough, Higgins also admitted to an extramarital affair, which he conducted out of his office. He admitted to having sex with a woman in his office at the courthouse after a Bedford County Repbulicans meeting. The woman eventually sued him for sexual harassment, but the charges were dropped. What do you want to bet she was pressured into dropping them, seeing how Higgins was the vice-chair of the organization at the time of the office sex?

This man has some nerve, talking about what offends anyone’s morals, considering what kind of person he is. He’s hardly moral, but he is a hypocrite, and vindictive to boot.

The ACLU is looking into this incident. Hopefully, the charges will be dropped.

I think a warning should be enough, but prosecutors are supposed to prosecute, not judge. I am also a fan of pornography, and I don't see how the guy uploading a Howard Stern interview makes him a "porn addict". Even if he uploaded his own porno that wouldn't make him a porn "addict".

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If it's on public property and he wasn't hopping fences, no charges. If it's on private property, trespassing is the only possibly charge. If merely disrespecting a statue of Jesus is desecration, then burning other religions' texts needs to be desecration.

I think desecration of your own property needs to be legal. Why shouldn't you be able to burn a book you bought that is stupid just because someone else worships it? How many atheists blow themselves up when someone burns The Descent of Man? If someone bought a tanach to burn, I would lol at them financially supporting the Jewish publishing company by their purchase. Desecrating the property of others is wrong though, no matter whether it is a statue of Jesus or Ronald McDonald.

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gotta love the asshats who attack others without cleaning their closets first.

We always say how people who moralize the most usually have a few not so savory skeletons in their own closets. That theory is, once again, proven to be quite accurate. Meet Bedford County, PA District Attorney Bill Higgins. In case you weren’t aware, he is the same man who is viciously going after a 14-year-old boy for what most people would consider a harmless, youthful prank: simulating oral sex with a statue of Jesus. According to The Raw Story, Higgins used an old law from 1972 to be able to enforce his personal code of morals on the boy, calling him a “troubled young man†whose actions were offensive to the morals of the community in Everett, PA. Higgins says of the boy’s display:

His actions constitute a violation of the law, and he will be prosecuted accordingly. If that tends to upset the ‘anti-Christian, ban-school-prayer, war-on-Christmas, oppose-display-of-Ten-Commandments’ crowd, I make no apologies.

Well, it is clear from these remarks that Mr. Higgins only wants to prove a point, and to prosecute someone for something that is technically illegal, but, more importantly (to him, at least) offends his religious sensibilities. Well, if he is so worried about morals, Bill Higgins should look to himself first, because we’ve found out plenty that he has done that is a whole lot more scandalous than a teenager posting a blasphemous photo of a Jesus statue as a Facebook status.

Apparently, Mr. Higgins is a fan of pornography. Now, personally, I have no issue with pornography, just since no one is harmed during its production. However, the “family values†crowd that Bill Higgins is a member of usually does, no matter how many of them get caught with that and worse. Recently – very recently, in fact — Higgins posted up a link from his personal account on YouTube to an interview that shock jock Howard Stern did with adult film star Nick Manning. In the interview, entitled Dropping Loads with Nick Manning, Stern and Manning discuss Manning’s use of the phrase ‘dropping loads.’ Now, most people would say, “who cares†when it comes to someone using his personal time in this fashion, whether they approved or not. But, for all his moralizing, it seems that Higgins is pretty dirty himself.

As if the porn wasn’t enough, Higgins also admitted to an extramarital affair, which he conducted out of his office. He admitted to having sex with a woman in his office at the courthouse after a Bedford County Repbulicans meeting. The woman eventually sued him for sexual harassment, but the charges were dropped. What do you want to bet she was pressured into dropping them, seeing how Higgins was the vice-chair of the organization at the time of the office sex?

This man has some nerve, talking about what offends anyone’s morals, considering what kind of person he is. He’s hardly moral, but he is a hypocrite, and vindictive to boot.

The ACLU is looking into this incident. Hopefully, the charges will be dropped.

How is this relevant? I don't think the kid should be prosecuted for a prank, but it is, in their area, technically illegal, even if it's an " old law" , dating all the way back to 1972 :roll: boy talk about spin!

Is the DA watching porn illegal? And does him posting a link to a talk show about porn, not even actual porn, make him a " porn addict" ? The affair was not illegal, presumably, although the office sex may have been. But still not relevant.

Kids do stupid shit all the time. Much of it shouldn't be prosecuted. But that's kind of a risk kids take when they post the stupid pranks they pull on social media, with their real name right there.

As for the book burning, I don't think that person was even in the same state, so wouldn't be subject to the same laws. Plus the whole private property vs. public property thing.

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How is this relevant? I don't think the kid should be prosecuted for a prank, but it is, in their area, technically illegal, even if it's an " old law" , dating all the way back to 1972 :roll: boy talk about spin!

Is the DA watching porn illegal? And does him posting a link to a talk show about porn, not even actual porn, make him a " porn addict" ? The affair was not illegal, presumably, although the office sex may have been. But still not relevant.

Kids do stupid shit all the time. Much of it shouldn't be prosecuted. But that's kind of a risk kids take when they post the stupid pranks they pull on social media, with their real name right there.

As for the book burning, I don't think that person was even in the same state, so wouldn't be subject to the same laws. Plus the whole private property vs. public property thing.

The problem with the law is it allows a DA to enforce his OWN code of morals. What if his code of morals includes being gay is such a horrendous thing that a same-sex couple holding hands should be brought up on charges of corrupting impressionable kids? What is MY code of morals is all religious artifacts should remain out of public view in case someone doesn't like it?

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i would like to know what this da would do if this kid pulled the same stunt with a statue of odin. hmm, methinks he would laugh it off.

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The problem with the law is it allows a DA to enforce his OWN code of morals. What if his code of morals includes being gay is such a horrendous thing that a same-sex couple holding hands should be brought up on charges of corrupting impressionable kids? What is MY code of morals is all religious artifacts should remain out of public view in case someone doesn't like it?

Well I would certainly hope that there wasn't a law that would allow him to press charges in the hand holding incident. I mean, IS there a law, in that jurisdiction, that could be interpreted that way?

I guess if your code of ethics said all religious artifacts had to be hidden from view you could lobby to get a law like that passed...I would think most Home Owner Associations would support it.

I agree it is a stupid think to prosecute a kid for, especially such a young kid. But kids get charged for equally stupid, minor, little things all the time. They can be put on informal probation or charged fines or made to do community service just for being out too late at night in towns with curfews, or jumping fences to go explore local abandoned house that is rumored to be haunted, or a hundred other inconsequential things. Geeze, their parents can be arrested if the kid is playing at the park. I just saw a Facebook post about a girl who was tackled by 3 cops for talking on her cell phone at school! I just don't see why this police overreaction is so much worse than any other.

And, to be blunt, Whats bugging me is that I think the reaction here would be very different if he performed a disrespectful action at a Mosque or Synagogue and posted it on social media.

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And, to be blunt, Whats bugging me is that I think the reaction here would be very different if he performed a disrespectful action at a Mosque or Synagogue and posted it on social media.

i think a synagogue would provoke a similar reaction, but a mosque? definitely not. a buddhist temple? nah. any other minority religion? "it's just a joke, for crying out loud!"

tbh, mama mia, it really bugs me, too. i'm sure there are other establishments of various non-christian religions that are desecrated in more destructive ways than this, but the jesus gets the headlines, cuz 'merica.

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The problem with the law is it allows a DA to enforce his OWN code of morals. What if his code of morals includes being gay is such a horrendous thing that a same-sex couple holding hands should be brought up on charges of corrupting impressionable kids? What is MY code of morals is all religious artifacts should remain out of public view in case someone doesn't like it?

Whaaaat?!

This is the law in question:

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5509 provides, in relevant part:

(a) Offense defined.--A person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if he:

(1) intentionally desecrates any public monument or structure, or place of worship or burial;

(2) if he intentionally desecrates any other object of veneration by the public or a substantial segment thereof in any public place....

And here's the (lack of) definitions:

(b) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection: "Desecrate." Defacing, damaging, polluting or otherwise physically mistreating in a way that the actor knows will outrage the sensibilities of persons likely to observe or discover the action.

I don't see any way that this allows someone to prosecute a gay couple holding hands. Seriously, I'm all for this kid not getting prosecuted, but you just made a false analogy that is just as bad as the ones fundies make that we snark the hell out of.

I don't personally think this is an "old law" or a useless law, though it could use some rewording if 14 year olds are getting prosecuted for being dumbasses. This is a law that protects objects/places considered "sacred" by the population, including graveyards and such. Someone tagging a random brick wall with the word "bitch" should be a less severe offense than someone tagging a gravestone with the word "bitch." It is WAY less offensive for a man to post a picture of himself on Facebook (let's assume with no nudity showing) just pissing in an alley after a night in the bar than it would be to post a picture of himself on Facebook pissing on a synagogue (or church or mosque) wall.

I don't doubt that the personal biases/religion of whoever-the-fuck arrested him played into the scenario, and I think that instead of being arrested, he should just get a stern talking to from his mom about the Internet being forever.

EDIT: Noun/pronoun agreement is a very complicated concept, apparently.

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i think a synagogue would provoke a similar reaction, but a mosque? definitely not. a buddhist temple? nah. any other minority religion? "it's just a joke, for crying out loud!"

tbh, mama mia, it really bugs me, too. i'm sure there are other establishments of various non-christian religions that are desecrated in more destructive ways than this, but the jesus gets the headlines, cuz 'merica.

Well, I agree that in some Facebook circles that would be true. But actually I was talking about the reaction of posters in this thread. I think people here are so riled up about Christian extremists that they don't react to this kids prank the same way they would to any other religious artifact. I think if it was any other religion people wouldn't be excusing the kids actions, but would be saying how disrespectful it was.

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Well, I agree that in some Facebook circles that would be true. But actually I was talking about the reaction of posters in this thread. I think people here are so riled up about Christian extremists that they don't react to this kids prank the same way they would to any other religious artifact. I think if it was any other religion people wouldn't be excusing the kids actions, but would be saying how disrespectful it was.

ah, i see. i thought you meant a general "here" rather than the literal, this board "here". sowwy. :)

i'm not sure, though. i mean, what he did, honestly, was pretty immature and stupid, and he definitely needs to know that this type of thing is unacceptable in society, but ultimately i don't think it should amount to more than a slap on the wrist and a stern lecture. that would be my reaction if it was jesus or athena or odin or bast or any other statue of a god or goddess. same thing for the virgin mary or any of the saints. and while it wasn't acceptable, i don't think it was a grave act of disrespect. considering his maturity level, his motivation was probably not one of purposefully disrespecting the statue or the church. i would hold that more for graffiti or vandalism, which should definitely be treated seriously, no matter what the religion.

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Criminal charges? Are you kidding me? The statue wasn't even damaged! Just because it's Jesus shouldn't change anything! A talking-to, sure, but this is ridiculous. We have to stop coddling believers, guys.

Anyway, if this kid had had any brains at all, he'd have done it at night with the camera on flash...just like every other teen from time immemorial.

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I just wanted to point out that no one has said this kid should be prosecuted. There have been dissenting opinions about the law in question and some interesting (I think) dialogue about how this incident might be seen by varying parties were the statue to "belong" to different religions.

But everyone has agreed that this is a stupid thing to prosecute a kid for.

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And, to be blunt, Whats bugging me is that I think the reaction here would be very different if he performed a disrespectful action at a Mosque or Synagogue and posted it on social media.

Which is the point! Do you think the Christian DA would be pushing charges? Not a chance. Doing this to statues for other religions isn't against his own ethics of keeping anything Christian holy and sacred. The law is very problematic because it allows for prosecution based on someone being morally offended, and you know as well as I do that this isn't going to be evenly applied. Good luck getting that DA to prosecute because a statue of Buddha was treated the same way.

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Which is the point! Do you think the Christian DA would be pushing charges? Not a chance. Doing this to statues for other religions isn't against his own ethics of keeping anything Christian holy and sacred. The law is very problematic because it allows for prosecution based on someone being morally offended, and you know as well as I do that this isn't going to be evenly applied. Good luck getting that DA to prosecute because a statue of Buddha was treated the same way.

I think that would really depend on the area. I don't imagine that these exact circumstances are common enough that we could somehow compare treatment across religions, but I think outrage would be pretty strong lots of places if it was a kid pulling a prank that involved mimicking a sex act at a Jewish, Islamic or Buddhist or Wiccan place of worship. I would think the decision to prosecute, in these times, would be basically due to how much social media fervor was involved. I don't think prosecuting this kid is a good idea -- he's just a kid doing something stupid. But I don't think the law itself is necessarily bad - as long as it doesn't involve anything someone does in their own home, or with their own property.

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ah, i see. i thought you meant a general "here" rather than the literal, this board "here". sowwy. :)

i'm not sure, though. i mean, what he did, honestly, was pretty immature and stupid, and he definitely needs to know that this type of thing is unacceptable in society, but ultimately i don't think it should amount to more than a slap on the wrist and a stern lecture. that would be my reaction if it was jesus or athena or odin or bast or any other statue of a god or goddess. same thing for the virgin mary or any of the saints. and while it wasn't acceptable, i don't think it was a grave act of disrespect. considering his maturity level, his motivation was probably not one of purposefully disrespecting the statue or the church. i would hold that more for graffiti or vandalism, which should definitely be treated seriously, no matter what the religion.

I found the photo and act to be a deliberately vulgar, immature act. There are ways to express that you don't like Jesus without having to use an image of something that others might consider to be holy in such a way. *and that goes for all symbols of all religions*

Even so, as pointed out upthread, it was private property and that is the difference. If it's your own property, do whatever you want with it and if I find it to be crude and vulgar and deliberately shocking, then I'll pass on by and draw more of a conclusion about the person doing the action than I will about the object itself (and will probably do my best to stay out of his/her way).

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