ME: Mosque Desecration Suspect Wants Jury Trial


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.

 


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