A Massachusetts man with a lengthy criminal record has been arrested for ripping the arms off a 150-year-old Jesus statue and swinging from the crucifix outside a historic Boston church.
Michael Patzelt, 37, of Attleboro, was arraigned on Wednesday for the shocking act of vandalism at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End.
A Boston Cathedral has been vandalized in Massachusetts, specifically the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston’s South End. Jesus’ arms have been broken. pic.twitter.com/amjkbqYUFF
— Freda (@ShesBasedBabe) October 25, 2023
The vandalism is said to have caused $20,000 worth of damage.
“Boston police received a radio call for a person who was hanging on the cross at 1400 Washington Street,” a prosecutor told the court during the arraignment, according to a report from the Daily Mail. “He caused significant damage to the cross.”
“The level of venom and destructiveness displayed by this individual is difficult to comprehend,” Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden said. “We live in a society where citizens are free to practice any religion they choose, and equally free to practice no religion at all. But they are not free to desecrate symbols held precious by the many faiths within our society.”
Before the damage to the crucifix was reported, Boston police had received a call about a man knocking a woman’s hat off her head while she was walking with her child. Patzelt has been charged for that, as well.
Charges against Patzelt include assault and malicious destruction of property.
Patzelt has previously been imprisoned for assaulting an ambulance driver. He is currently being held on $5,000 cash bail.
The suspect’s attorney argued that he is out of work, homeless, and struggling with mental illness.
In a statement, the Archdiocese of Boston said, “Unfortunately, the Cathedral experienced vandalism at the exterior crucifix.”
“I have no information regarding why someone would take such an action. It’s now in the capable hands of the BPD,” the Archdiocese added.