Associate Pastor Susan Henry says the church has 21 Sudanese members, many of whom are "adopted" and cared for by local families. Several live in church-owned housing, and the church often is a center for gatherings.
Local members of National Alliance, a West Virginia-based neo-Nazi group, spread leaflets targeting the 175-member church after 19-year-old Majok Daniel Kachoul was arrested in the rape of a 20-year-old woman August 24. He has been charged with one count each of rape and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Police charge Kachoul with sexually assaulting the woman with his finger and burning her hand with a lighted cigarette, according to the Arlington Advocate.
Kachoul has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
If convicted, Kachoul could face a maximum of 20 years in state prison for the rape charge and up to 10 years for the assault and battery charge, according to Emily Lagrassa of the Middlesex district attorney's office.
A member of the church, Kachoul came to Arlington in February as part of a U.S. State Department resettlement of about 3,800 "Lost Boys" fleeing Sudan's civil war. He is part of a group sponsored by the International Rescue Committee, a nonsectarian humanitarian organization that works with refugees and others fleeing racial, religious, or ethnic violence.
National Alliance distributed the leaflets September 1 after The Boston Globe covered the incident. The group called Henry a "race traitor," saying "the Lutherans don't care if these new converts rape and infect your daughter with HIV." The National Alliance had targeted Jews in an August ...1