Prosecutors have dropped charges against Susan “Catholic Warrior” Hemeryck, accused of vandalism and the attempted theft of a Satanic holiday display at the Florida Capitol last December.
The State Attorney’s Office filed court papers Friday to dismiss a criminal-mischief charge against 55-year-old Susan Hemeryck. Trial had been scheduled to begin Monday.
Last December Hemeryck was arrested after vandalizing the Satanic Temple holiday display in the Florida Capitol Rotunda. Hemeryck was arrested and charged with criminal mischief after she began ripping apart the Satanic holiday display showing an angel falling into flames with the message “Happy Holidays from the Satanic Temple.”
The Tampa Tribune notes the timing of the dismissal of charges against Hemeryck is curious, since jury selection was set for the same day the charges were dropped, with a trial scheduled for next week.
Assistant State Attorney Jeremy Mutz tried to explain away the state’s actions, suggesting the state could not “prove actual damage to the property in question in this case.”
This despite the fact that there is video tape evidence as well as multiple witnesses to the fact that Hemeryck tried to steal the display before vandalizing it.
In a statement Hemeryck said:
I am very grateful to God for giving me the grace to take a stand against Satan and those who invoke his name even if they do not fully know what they are doing.
I was not afraid of going to trial. I wanted the jury to know that I did not act criminally as wrongly portrayed, but a devout Catholic following the Church’s teaching for non-violent and peaceful opposition of evil.
Florida prosecutors should be ashamed. By dropping the charges against this deluded religious extremist the state sends the wrong message. In reality, Hemeryck’s actions constituted a hate crime, and should be prosecuted as such.
By failing to prosecute Hemeryck the state of Florida tacitly endorses her act of vigilante censorship, and fails to honor and protect the spirit and letter of the U.S. Constitution which guarantees freedom of speech, even when that speech may be unpopular with a few religious extremists.