LEWISTON, Maine — A man charged with desecrating a place of worship after allegedly rolling a frozen pig’s head into a Lewiston mosque has requested a jury trial.
A lawyer for Brent Matthews told News 8 he made the request in a letter sent to Lewiston District Court. In the letter, Jim Howaniec said he entered a not guilty plea on his client’s behalf.
Matthews, 33, of Lewiston, said he was carrying the pig’s head when it slipped out of his hands and rolled into the Lewiston-Auburn Islamic Center on Lisbon Street during prayers on July 3.
Muslims consider pork to be unclean.
At a hearing last week, Superior Court Justice Ellen Gorman granted the state’s request for a preliminary injunction against Matthews. That means he’ll have to stay 150 feet away from the mosque, as well as anyone who worships there.
The state is pursuing a civil lawsuit that accuses Matthews of violating the Maine Civil Rights Act. If found guilty, he would be ordered to stay away on a permanent basis and to refrain from violating the act.