Man gets 18-year sentence in trying to burn down Ohio church over drag shows

An Ohio man who tried to burn down an LGBTQ-friendly church was sentenced to 18 years in prison Tuesday, Justice Department officials announced. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI

Jan. 30 (UPI) -- An Ohio man was sentenced to 18 years in prison Tuesday for attempting to burn down a church because of its LGBTQ-friendly events.

According to the Justice Department, Aimenn Penny, 20, threw Molotov cocktails at the Community Church of Chesterland, Ohio, in March.

"Angered by the church's plan to host two drag events the following weekend, Penny threw two Molotov cocktails at the church, hoping to burn it to the ground," the Justice Department said in a press release Tuesday.

In October, Penny pleaded guilty to violating the Church Arson Prevention Act, which carries a mandatory minimum 10-year sentence. Penny also pleaded guilty to using fire to commit a felony.

"Such acts of extremist violence have no place in our communities, and the Justice Department is committed to bringing to justice those who would use or threaten violence to prevent their fellow citizens from freely exerting their fundamental rights," said Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen.

According to the Justice Department, the case was investigated by the FBI's Cleveland Field office.

"Violent, bias-motivated extremism has no place in our country, and our office will aggressively prosecute those who commit such crimes," said Ohio Northern District Attorney Rebecca Lutzko.