FROM THE OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRSpr1735
REPORT TO PRESIDENT ON ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY
The National Church Arson Task Force on Sunday released a one-year report to the President detailing the results of the Administrations three-pronged response to the nations church arson crisis.
A year ago today, President Clinton pledged to safeguard the religious freedom of all Americans, James E. Johnson, Treasury Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and co-chair of the Task Force, said. As this report makes clear, the men and women of the Task Force are doing just that.
Johnson said the Task Force has been successful because of increased coordination between federal, state and local law enforcement officials.
John Dwyer, Acting Associate Attorney General, said: These fires stirred our national conscience and threatened our common sense of sanctuary. What matters most is that we responded. We addressed the fears and apprehensions of affected communities; we have pursued the arsonists; and we have helped rebuild both the structures and the spirit of the congregations.
The report details results of the Task Force work, including:
n launching 429 investigations into arsons, bombings or attempted bombings at houses of worship since January 1, 1995, resulting in the arrest of 199 suspects in connection with 150 of these investigations;
n a 35 percent arrest rate in Task Force arson cases--more than double the 16 percent arrest rate for arsons in general;
n and federal, state and local prosecutors have convicted 110 defendants in connection with fires at 77 houses of worship since January 1995.
The One Year Report to the President is available through the Public Affairs Offices of the Department of Justice (202) 616-2777 or the Department of the Treasury at (202) 622-2960 or via the Internet at www.atf.treas.gov after 7 p.m. EST.