A Boston man with a lengthy criminal record is facing charges in connection with a vandalism at a historic cathedral that left a 150-year-old crucifix with broken arms.
Michael Patzelt, 37, of Attleboro, was arraigned Wednesday in Boston Municipal Court on a number of charges, including assault and malicious destruction of property.
Prosecutors said about $20,000 in damage was caused to the crucifix outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End.
“Boston police received a radio call about a person hanging on a cross at 1400 Washington Street,” a prosecutor told the court. “He caused significant damage to the cross.”
A video circulating on social media shows the suspect dressed in green and carrying a large backpack, gHe rammed into the statue’s legs and swayed from left to right before losing his footing and falling towards it the floor.
Attleboro man Michael Patzelt, 37, was charged with assault and intentional damage to property
Patzelt is accused of breaking off the arms of the statue of Jesus Christ in front of the Holy Cross Cathedral
Patzelt’s attorney told the court Wednesday that he is currently homeless and was living with his grandmother before her death
Patzelt allegedly broke both of the statue’s arms before police arrived and arrested him.
Before learning of the damage to the crucifix, officers responded to a report of a suspicious person ripping off a woman’s head covering around 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
Patzelt is accused of walking into a nearby store and knocking Tashana Watson’s hat off her head as the mother was shopping with her 11-year-old son.
Watson said she pushed the man about four times to get him away.
“And then he grabbed my hair and my hat and threw it away. “Then he tried to have a conversation, like he was just going to shoot me,” she told Boston 25 News.
Patzelt has multiple convictions on his criminal record, which spans two states. This also includes a previous prison sentence for assaulting an ambulance driver.
The prosecution asked the judge to hold Patzelt on $500 bail, but that amount was quickly increased when the judge asked his attorney, “Lawyer, is this a case of a corrupt heart or a very sick mind?”
The judge pointed to Patzelt’s criminal record, which included “seven pages of committed offenses” and “a 10-page Florida file” with charges similar to the vandalism rape.
A video circulated on social media showing Patzelt swinging from the statue’s feet before losing his footing and falling to the ground
The 37-year-old was charged on Wednesday. He has a lengthy criminal record in both Massachusetts and Florida
Prosecutors asked the judge to hold Patzelt on $500 bail, but that amount increased to $5,000 after the judge asked, “Lawyer, is this a corrupt heart or a very sick mind.” ?”
Patzelt is also accused of grabbing Tashana Watson by the hair and ripping off her hat. He was ordered to stay away from Watson and her infant son
“I will set bail at $5,000,” the judge said. “When we are dealing with a mental illness, we get to the bottom of it as quickly as possible.”
Patzelt’s lawyer told the court that he was unemployed, homeless and “remorseful” for his actions.
The attorney also explained that Patzelt lived with his grandmother in Attleboro but was forced to move out after her death.
The 37-year-old was ordered to stay away from Watson and her son. He is prohibited from being within 100 feet of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
“The level of toxicity and destructiveness exhibited by this individual is difficult to comprehend,” said Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden.
“We live in a society in which citizens are free to practice any religion of their choice, and equally free to practice no religion at all.” But they are not free to desecrate symbols that represent the many faiths of our society hearts lie.”
The Archdiocese of Boston issued a statement late Tuesday: “Unfortunately, there was vandalism to the exterior crucifix at the cathedral.”
“I have no information as to why anyone would take such an action.” “It is now in the capable hands of the BPD,” the archdiocese added.
On Wednesday afternoon, emergency services carried out repairs to the crucifix.
The Cathedral of the Holy Cross is the largest church in New England
On Wednesday afternoon, workers were seen making repairs to the Jesus statue
It has only spent two years in the cathedral and previously stood in a garden at a Little Sisters of the Poor nursing home
It has only spent two years in the cathedral and was previously in the garden of a Little Sisters of the Poor care home, which is now closed.
The Cathedral of the Holy Cross is the largest church in New England, seating nearly 2,000.
Designed by 19th-century Irish-American architect Patrick Keely, the cathedral is 364 feet long, 90 feet wide and 120 feet high.
In 1860, Bishop John Fitzpatrick began work on a new place of worship after the Catholic population outgrew the first cathedral on Franklin Street.
The American Civil War brought the project to a halt before it was completed in 1875.
Local Roxbury puddingstone and gray limestone were used for the Gothic Revival building. The cathedral is also home to the largest organ ever built by the Hook and Hastings Company.
The website encourages people to “worship with us, minister and serve, discover and participate in our living history on Washington Street.”
Patzelt is due back in court on November 30th.