WASHINGTON– A federal judge today sentenced Kyle Shroyer of Muncie, Ind., to serve 15 months in prison for his role in burning an eight-foot cross in front of a biracial family’s home, announced Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Susan Brooks, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, and Michael Welch, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Indianapolis office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Defendant Kyle Shroyer admitted in September 2007 that he and another man conspired to violate the civil rights of a woman and her three biracial children by burning the cross at their home in Muncie, Ind., in March 2006. At the hearing today, Shroyer was sentenced to 15 months in prison, three years supervised release, a $500 fine and a $100 special assessment. The judge enhanced the defendant’s sentence because the crime was racially motivated and because several of the victims were unusually vulnerable because of their age.
“Cross burning is a despicable act of hatred and intolerance that has no place in a free society,” said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The federal government will continue to vigorously prosecute hate crimes, and today’s sentence sends the message that those who commit criminal acts will pay a price.”
The Department of Justice has compiled a significant record on criminal civil rights prosecutions in recent years. For example, in the last seven years, the Civil Rights Division brought 41 cross-burning prosecutions and convicted 60 defendants for these heinous crimes. And, in the last two fiscal years, the Division convicted record numbers of defendants for civil rights violations. In fiscal year 2007, the Division convicted 189 defendants, the highest number of defendants ever in the history of the Division, which surpassed the previous year’s record number of 181 defendants.
This case was investigated by the Muncie Field Office of the FBI, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina McKee from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Trial Attorney Betsy Biffl from the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.