Polk County prosecutors charged Cassidy with felony third-degree criminal mischief, saying that he acted "in violation of individual rights" under Iowa's hate crime statue, the Des Moines Register reports.
Cassidy had been charged with a misdemeanor fourth-degree criminal mischief the day after the beheading but had been informed that he may be liable for further charges.
Spokesman for the Polk County Attorney's Office Lynn Hicks said that "Evidence shows the defendant made statements to law enforcement and the public indicating he destroyed the property because of the victim’s religion." This is what resulted in the hate crimes charge.
Hicks further elaborated on how much it would cost to replace the statue of Baphoment constructed by the Satanic Temple, which would be between $750 and $1,500. The extremely litigious Satanic Temple had filed their own damage estimate, saying that it would be $3,000 to replace the statue.
Cassidy, a former military officer who ran for Congress, pushed over and decapitated the statue of Baphomet, which had been put up by members of the Satanic Temple of Iowa. The Satanic Temple had been given permission for the display. Cassidy discarded the head of Baphomet in the trash.
"My conscience is held captive to the word of God, not to bureaucratic decree. And so I acted," Cassidy said at the time. He has raised $84,000 for his legal defense on his GiveSendGo and Turning Point USA pledged $10,000 to help. Cassidy spoke at Turning Point USA's America Fest in Phoenix in December 2023, saying that the statue "was an abomination."
He said that people need to wake up to what is happening in the world. "They may think it's a joke that they triggered us but the devil is real and we have to be ready," he said.
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