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Indiana Man Pleads Guilty to Cross Burning

WASHINGTON – Defendant Kyle Shroyer pleaded guilty in federal court today to conspiring to violate the civil rights of a woman and her three biracial children, and admitted having burned a cross at the family’s home in Muncie, Ind. Today’s guilty plea was announced by Rena Comisac, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the 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. The defendant faces a maximum of 10 years imprisonment when he is sentenced on Jan. 4, 2008.

In March 2006, Shroyer built an eight-foot wooden cross with another individual, referred to in court documents as “a known co-conspirator” and then erected the cross in front of the victims’ home. The two men then doused the cross with gasoline and set it on fire. Defendant Shroyer admitted in court that he burned the cross with the intent to interfere with the victims’ rights under the Fair Housing Act.

“Cross burning is a despicable act of hatred and intolerance,” said Rena J. Comisac, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “No one in our country should be subject to such a deplorable act of racism. Americans of all races should be free to live where they choose, undisturbed by such threats.”

The guilty plea results from an investigation by Special Agent Charlie Rownd of the Muncie Field Office of the FBI, Christina McKee from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Betsy Biffl from the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.