published Friday, March 7th, 2014

Former Tennessee hotel guard sentenced for defacing Torah

JACKSON, Tenn. — A former Jackson hotel security guard has been sentenced to a year in prison for civil rights violations for defacing a Torah and Jewish prayer books.

Federal prosecutors announced on Friday that 25-year-old Justin Shaw Baker admitted to spitting on the Torah and writing profanity and phrases including "Hail Satan" on the sacred book.

The religious books belonged to the students and faculty of the Margolin Hebrew Academy of Memphis who were staying overnight at the Doubletree Hotel in Jackson on their way to Gatlinburg. The Torah, religious books and musical instruments were left in a room at the hotel overnight, and Baker admitted to finding them and defacing them.

U.S. District Judge J. Daniel Breen also ordered Baker to pay $9,999.99 in restitution to Margolin Hebrew Academy.

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