Christopher Sanford, age 25, is charged with interfering with and intimidating an individual’s right to enjoy housing because of that individual’s race, religion, and national origin
Mike Tobin, Public Affairs Specialist, (216) 622-3651
A criminal information had been filed charging the crime of interference with housing against an Olmsted Township man who is accused of hanging a model camel and noose outside the Cleveland apartment of a man who is of Arab and Muslim background, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland office.
Christopher Sanford, age 25, is charged with interfering with and intimidating an individual’s right to enjoy housing because of that individual’s race, religion, and national origin, a violation of Title 42, United States Code, Section 3631.
“In this country, people are free to live where they want, free from harassment and threats,” Dettelbach said. “Those who have not gotten that message and break the law will be prosecuted.”
Anthony said: “As evidenced by this investigation, the FBI aggressively and thoroughly pursues all allegations of civil rights violations. The actions outlined in the criminal complaint are simply unacceptable and no one should be subjected to these types of threats and intimidation.”
The information, along with evidence available to the United States Attorney’s Office, reflects that on or about December 1, 2009, Sanford and two other individuals not yet charged, planned and carried out the hanging of a model camel from a noose, and affixed that to the door of an individual, identified in the information as A.F.A., who is a member of the Arab and Muslim communities.
The crime occurred at A.F.A.’s upscale apartment on Detroit Avenue in downtown Cleveland. A.F.A. was selected as a target of Sanford’s conduct because of A.F.A.’s race, religion, and national origin, according to the information.
The charge against Sanford carries maximum penalties of up to one year in prison, a fine of $100,000, and up to one year of supervised release.
If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to each case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James V. Moroney of the Human Rights Section of the United States Attorney’s Office, following an investigation by the Civil Rights Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
An information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.