The Appleton Post-Crescent reports that the town of Kaukauna, Wisconsin has recently seen its first ever hate crime against a Christian. According to the Post-Crescent, three teens, Daniel Lewis, Sam Chartier, and Patrick Corey, recently sprayed a man in the eyes with mace simply because he had a Christian sign in his front yard.
According to the criminal complaint, the three youths drove the streets on the morning of September 16, 2000 looking for a victim to spray with pepper spray. After two failed attempts, the three boys spotted a sign in one front yard reading, "You think you got it all? Got Jesus?" According to the complaint, Lewis told the other two that he would pepper spray the occupant of the house because "he was sick of all the Christian religious talk and how he was raised by his parents." He also commented that the victim would probably be forgiving because of his Christian beliefs.
Corey says that he and Lewis approached the house at approximately 6 a.m. and knocked on the front door. When a man answered the door, Lewis allegedly yelled an obscene comment about Jesus and sprayed the man in the face. The two then fled in the car where Chartier was waiting. The victim told police that Corey and Lewis were wearing dark clothes and necklaces with what appeared to be satanic symbols.
Currently, both Corey and Chartier have been charged with misdemeanor crimes and convicted of using mace in a hate crime. Lewis faces felony charges of using mace against another person in a hate crime and a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct. Lewis could face a maximum penalty of three years incarceration.
According to the Office of Justice Assistance, a division of the Wisconsin Department of Administration, this case appears to be the first since the hate crime statute was passed in 1991 where the victim was singled out because of his or her Christian beliefs. Tom Everson, coordinator of the crime-reporting program says that between 1991 and 1999, there were twenty-seven incidents where a victim was targeted because of his religion.