Federal officials have launched a preliminary inquiry into whether recent acts of vandalism against Mormon temples and meeting houses are hate crimes, a department spokesman said Friday.
"We are looking into whether these acts are intimidating people into not going into houses of worship," said Juan Becerra, of the Salt Lake City FBI. "The right to worship is a basic civil right."
Since the Nov. 4 election, seven houses of worship in Utah have been vandalized, according to Becerra.
Becerra said federal agents are working with Salt Lake City church officials and local law enforcement.
Sacramento church officials have stepped up security at the Rancho Cordova temple.
Ten church buildings in the region have been vandalized since the election, said Lisa West, spokesperson for the church in the Sacramento area. "That's more than we usually get in an entire year."
Monday, November 17, 2008
More Vandalism to LDS churches
Here is an sample of vandalism that is occurring across California and other areas, this from the Sacramento area. Excerpts from "Feds investigate vandalism at Mormon sites" by Jennifer Garza of the Sacramento Bee.