A man was charged with arson on Tuesday after a Hocking County church burned to the ground.
According to the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office, Donald Lee Williams confessed to setting the South Bloomingville Christian Church on fire on Aug. 17.
Investigators said that Williams, 36, set the fire by throwing a rock through the window and then setting a curtain on fire by igniting it with a lighter.
“Our suspect, Mr. Williams, admitted to the arson,” said Hocking County Sheriff Lanny North. “He did not implicate anyone else other than himself.”
North said that Williams told investigators that he was assaulted by a person connected with the church in July 2011.
“I believe it brings some closure to the area that wasn’t, per se, a hate crime, as the bishop portrayed it to be,” North said. “It was more a revenge crime for what the suspect had endured in 2011.”
The pastor of the church, located along state Route 664 in South Bloomingville, said that he thought the church was targeted because of its support of the gay and lesbian community.
Shortly after the fire, the church’s pastor, Bishop Scott Davis, told 10TV News that the fire was an act of hate.
“It’s sad, it’s very sad, because not only did I have a hand, but a lot of other people here put their heart and soul into it for the lord,” Davis said.
Williams was being held in the Hocking County Jail on $500,000 bond.
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