Man faces trial in church fire — (Detroit News)

SSRI Ed note: Man on stimulants and antidepressants attempts to set a Catholic church on fire.

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Detroit News

April 7, 2002

Author: The Detroit News ; David Shepardson

ROYAL OAK — Prosecutors expect a 25-year-old Huntington Woods man will undergo a psychiatric examination before being scheduled for trial in the Easter weekend vandalism of the National Shrine of the Little Flower Catholic Church in Royal Oak.

Jared Goldenberg is set for a preliminary examination Friday in Royal Oak District Court, charged with two felonies — preparation to burn property and ethnic intimidation.

Wearing a tight overcoat and gloves, Goldenberg walked to the downstairs men’s bathroom at the Shrine about 8:45 a.m. on March 30 and set fire to a plastic trash can using a cranberry juice bottle filled with gasoline, according to authorities.

Using a crayon, he drew nine Stars of David in the bathroom and told police it was because of his anger toward Father Charles Coughlin, founder of the Shrine, said Oakland County Prosecutor David Gorcyca.

In the 1930s, more than 30 million listeners tuned into Coughlin’s radio broadcasts. Widely criticized for anti-Semitic views, Coughlin was ordered in 1942 by Archbishop Francis Mooney not to broadcast or write about his political views.

As he tried to leave March 31, Goldenberg was confronted in a parking lot by many of the 30 parishioners who were in the church at the time, including Royal Oak District Judge Terrance Brennan.

The suspect, who recently took a job as a telemarketer, is being held at the Oakland County Jail on a $200,000 cash bond.

His mother, Sharon Goldenberg, declined to comment when reached at her Huntington Woods home. Defense attorney Robert Gold said in court last week that Goldenberg was not motivated by a hatred of Catholics, but that he had taken a combination of antidepressants and diet pills.

The cost of damage in the bathroom was minimal the church didn’t have an exact estimate of the damage. The church has removed the graffiti and hasn’t taken any other security procedures, said Father Lambert Smits, a priest for almost 54 years.

“Obviously, it’s disturbing. This guy wasn’t in his right mind,” Smits said.

A janitor or other church member remains in the sanctuary at all times, but the doors to the church remain unlocked during the day, Smits said.

Royal Oak parishioner Virginia Rasmussen, 77, a retired house cleaner who has worshiped at the church for a half-century, took the attack in stride.

“You can’t let one criminal stop you from going about your daily life.”
Record Number: det11986145
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