WASHINGTON — Henry Clay Glaspell, 34, of Arlington, Texas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means to 14 months in federal prison, following his guilty plea in February 2011 to a hate crime charge stemming from an arson of a children’s playground at the Dar El-Eman Islamic Center in Arlington in July 2010, the Justice Department announced today.
Glaspell admitted that he set fire to playground equipment at the mosque as part of a series of ethnically-motivated acts directed at individuals of Arab or Middle Eastern descent associated with the mosque. Glaspell further admitted that he stole and damaged mosque property, threw used cat litter at the front door of the mosque and shouted racial or ethnic slurs at individuals of Arab or Middle Eastern descent at the mosque on multiple occasions.
Judge Means ordered that Glaspell, who has been on bond, surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on Nov. 21, 2011.
“The defendant targeted Arab-Americans at a mosque where families worship peacefully and children play,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to vigorously prosecuting hate crimes against all persons and incidents of this kind will not be tolerated in our country.”
“Religious freedom is one of our most cherished rights, and that right includes the ability to build places of worship and assemble, free from discrimination,” said U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas. “This office will continue to prosecute those who commit such reprehensible acts of hatred.”
This case was investigated by Arlington Police Department and the FBI. It was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Victor Boutros from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Lewis of the Northern District of Texas, with assistance from the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office.