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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Centre County Man Sentenced To Prison For Burning Cross On Woman's Lawn

JOHNSTOWN, Pa .- A resident of Centre County, Pa., has been sentenced in federal court to one year and a day of incarceration and three years supervised release on his conviction of a charge of interfering with housing, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

United States District Judge Kim R. Gibson imposed the sentence yesterday on Ryan M. Held, a/k/a Ryan M. Foley, 21.

According to information presented to the court, on Aug. 20, 2010, Held, by force and threat of force, willfully intimidated and interfered with two minor victims - one of whom was an African- American male, because of his race and because he was occupying a dwelling, and one of whom was a female who was and had been lawfully allowing such African-American male, a friend, to occupy the dwelling in which she resided. During the afternoon of August 20th, Held drove past the female victim's home in Woodland, Pa., and saw her socializing with a few friends, one of whom was African-American. Just before midnight, Held returned to the property and placed a cross in the front yard of the female victim, approximately 60 feet from the entry to her home, and set it on fire for the purpose of intimidating and interfering with her and her African-American friend. Held spent a few minutes laying in the woods bordering the property watching the cross burn and waiting to see if anyone emerged from the residence.

Assistant United States Attorney Carolyn J. Bloch prosecuted this case on behalf of the government, together with Trial Attorney Roy Conn of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Held.

Updated July 14, 2015