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Moorhead man likely to get community service for vandalizing mosque

The charges are enhanced because they involve allegations of bias against a protected class, prosecutors said. Some of the messages that were spray-painted on the building included "Death to Islam" and women "can't vote."

As snow and rain started to fall on Sunday, April 25, dozens of concerned citizens from many different religions rallied to the Moorhead Fargo Islamic Center in support after the mosque was vandalized by hate spee.jpg
As snow and rain started to fall on Sunday, April 25, dozens of concerned citizens from many different religions rallied to the Moorhead Fargo Islamic Center in support after the mosque was vandalized by hate speech. C.S. Hagen / The Forum
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MOORHEAD, Minn. — A Moorhead man will likely avoid more jail time after admitting to spray-painting racist graffiti on a Moorhead mosque in April, according to court documents filed this month.

Benjamin Stewart Enderle, 22, pleaded guilty on July 2 to a felony harassment charge in Clay County District Court. He was slated to go to trial on July 20, but instead will be sentenced July 30.

A felony count of criminal damage to property is expected to be dismissed.

Investigators say Enderle wore a mask as he spray-painted the Moorhead Fargo Islamic Community Center in Moorhead. Video footage shows a lone suspect approaching the mosque around 11:37 p.m. April 24.

Enderle was arrested on April 27. In a court hearing, he said he regretted vandalizing the mosque.

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The charges are enhanced because they involve allegations of bias against a protected class, prosecutors said. Some of the spray-painted messages on the building included "Death to Islam" and women "can't vote."

The Moorhead Police Department was investigating the case in conjunction with the FBI. Federal charges haven't been filed, and it's unclear if they will be.

A plea agreement calls for Enderle to be released after Enderle's sentencing hearing. He would get credit for time served, as he has been in the Clay County Jail since his arrest.

Enderle is expected to complete 40 hours of community service for a minority community group instead of serving more jail time, the plea agreement says. He would also participate in a restorative justice program.

If Judge Tammy Merkins sentences Enderle in accordance with the plea deal, he would be placed on supervised probation for five years.

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