SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Four more teenagers pleaded innocent in Springfield
Juvenile Court on Wednesday to setting a fire that destroyed a city mosque.
They were ordered held in lieu of bail that ranged from $200 to $1,000,
Hampden Assistant District Attorney Brett Vottero said.
Three other teens pleaded innocent on Tuesday to charges stemming from the
fire at the Al-Baqi Islamic Center.
The seven boys, all 15 years old, are charged with arson, larceny and
breaking and entering.
The boys broke into the mosque last week to steal money and candy, then set
the fire, prosecutors said. The fire was an act of vandalism and not a hate
crime prompted by anti-Islamic sentiment, authorities said. Nobody was hurt
in the blaze.
The investigation is still underway and authorities have not decided
whether to prosecute the teens as adults or juveniles, Vottero said.
A hearing is scheduled for Friday to determine whether five of the teens
are too dangerous to be allowed released on bail. If a judge finds them
dangerous, their bail would be revoked