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Oregon Man Pleads Guilty to Desecrating Jewish Cemetery

Washington, D.C. January 13, 2005
  • Department of Justice - CRM (202) 514-2008

WASHINGTON, DC - The Justice Department today announced that Sean Andrew Sigley pleaded guilty to the bias motivated desecration of a Portland Jewish cemetery.  Sigley, a self-described white supremacist, admitted that on May 24, 2003, he and a co-conspirator desecrated the Congregation Shaarie Torah Cemetery with swastikas and anti-Semitic phrases in order to frighten and intimidate area Jewish residents.

"That acts such as these occur at all is offensive, that such ignorance exists in modern America is despicable," said R. Alexander Acosta,  ssistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.  "The Justice Department is committed to protecting our diverse religious heritage against acts of criminal bigotry."

Sigley will be sentenced on March 28, 2005. He faces a maximum possible sentence of ten years in prison. Sigley's alleged accomplice was indicted in October 2003 and is awaiting trial. This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Portland Police Bureau. It is being jointly prosecuted by attorneys from the Civil Rights Division and the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon.

Prosecuting the perpetrators of bias-motivated crimes remains a top priority of the Justice Department. Since 2001, the Civil Rights Division has charged 154 defendants in 104 cases of bias-motivated crime. During FY 2004, the Justice Department brought a record number of criminal civil rights prosecutions.