Feds not charging Matthews in mosque incident

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LEWISTON – No federal charges will be lodged against the city man who rolled a pig’s head into a local mosque last year.

“We’re not going forward with our prosecution,” Assistant U.S. Attorney General Halsey Frank said Friday.

Brent Matthews, 33, said the frozen head slipped from his hands one night last summer and rolled through the open door of the Lisbon Street storefront that serves as a mosque for members of the Somali community. He was later arrested and charged with the misdemeanor of defacement and desecration of a place of worship.

The Maine Attorney General’s Office was successful in getting the court to issue an injunction against Matthews under the Maine Civil Rights Act, ordering him to stay away from the mosque. If he were to violate that injunction, he could face up to a year in jail.

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation conferred with local police about the incident, investigating the possibility of charging Matthews with a federal hate crime.

But Matthews’ attorney, James Howaniec said Thursday he was assured his client would not face federal charges.

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