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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
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Tennessee Security Guard Pleads Guilty to Defacing Torah Scroll

By: JTA

A former hotel security guard pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights charge for defacing a Jewish school’s Torah scroll and prayer books.

Justin Shawn Baker, age 25 and an Iraq War veteran, admitted during a plea hearing Monday in a Jackson, Tenn., court to violating the civil rights of students of the Margolin Hebrew Academy’s Cooper Yeshiva High School of Memphis.

Baker was arrested in January after the school’s students and faculty showed up for a worship service in the conference room at the DoubleTree Hotel in Jackson and discovered the Torah scroll and prayer books damaged and covered with graffiti, including “Gentiles win, Jews lose” and “Submit to Satan.”

He also admitted to spitting on the Torah scroll, according to WJJB, the western Tennessee ABC television affiliate.

Some 50 high school students and faculty from the school were spending the Sabbath at the hotel on their way to a ski trip in the Smoky Mountains.

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3 Responses to “Tennessee Security Guard Pleads Guilty to Defacing Torah Scroll”

  1. Wendell Newman says:

    Is this not considered a hate crime?

  2. Yechiel Baum says:

    Did the hotel reimburse the group since he is under their employ so is financially liable as this kid wont pay a dime?

  3. Roy Neal Grissom says:

    Vandalism of Torah Scrolls and holy books (G-d forbid!) is not a "civil rights violation" OR a "hate crime." It is SACRILEGE (me`ilah) pure and simple, and should be recognized as such. Secular notions of law and justice must inevitably give way to the Laws of HaShem which, after all, are in effect now even though there is no Noachide Beit Din with the power to enforce them.

    Also, there is one factual error in this story. the TV station is not WJJB, it is WBBJ.

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