Man facing decades in jail for church arsons

A Tennessee man is facing up to decades in jail for setting fires at four Christian churches in the state.

The Department of Justice confirmed on Wednesday that Alan Douglas Fox, 28, of Nashville, admitted to setting fires at the Crievewood United Methodist Church, the Crievewood Baptist Church, the St. Ignatius of Antioch Catholic Church and the Priest Lake Community Baptist Church in 2019.

He also admitted carrying and using a firearm during the arson of the Crievewood Baptist building.

“The defendant in this case set fire to four Christian churches, causing fear and anguish to church members and their denominations,” explained Kristen Clarke, of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.

“The freedom to practice the religion we choose, without discrimination or danger, is a fundamental civil right in our nation and a hallmark of our democracy,” she said. “The Justice Department will continue to prosecute, to the fullest extent of the law, those who target and harm houses of worship because of bigotry and prejudice.”

The arsons happened over a period of a few days in June 2019.

Judge Eli Richardson scheduled sentence for Feb. 11, 2022, and by the terms of the guilty plea, Fox could get up to 20 years in prison for each fire and a consecutive five-year sentence for the firearms charge.

Mary Jane Stewart, the U.S. attorney on the case, said her office always will pursue “those, who by their malicious actions, infringe upon our freedom of religion.”

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