Missouri Man Indicted for Hate Crime and Arson Charges


WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury in Cape Girardeau, Missouri indicted Nicholas J. Proffitt, 42, for his conduct in connection with the April 24, 2020 fire at the Cape Girardeau Islamic Center. The indictment charges Proffitt with damaging religious property because of the property’s religious character, using fire to commit a federal felony, and damaging a building used in interstate commerce through the use of fire.

An indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

These charges are the result of an investigation by the Cape Girardeau Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the Missouri State Fire Marshal Office, the Perryville Police Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Keith Sorrell of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri, and Trial Attorney Janea Lamar of the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Criminal Section.

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