Pa. man arrested for making ethnic threats against Baptist church

| Screengrab: Facebook/Slavic Baptist Church of Harrisburg

A Pennsylvania man has been arrested after he made ethnically threatening comments against a local congregation whose members are primarily Eastern European.

Paul O’Neill has been charged with making threats against the Slavic Baptist Church of Etters, according to Newberry Township Police, which is part of a years-long pattern of behavior on his part.

O’Neill allegedly made shooting gestures toward children and others at the church’s Vacation Bible School and left a derogatory Google review of the church.

“If this isn’t the most parasitic church on Earth, I’d like to know what is, and feel sorry for its neighbors,” the review reads, as quoted in a report by the Harrisburg-based ABC 27 News on Wednesday.

 “No taxes, contribute NOTHING to the community, pretend to be Christians, while discriminating against anyone not both Slavic & Baptists! … and ruin the local ecosystem. Farce! Do us all a favor, kill each other in a brutal [Russian-Ukrainian] war and leave the planet better.”

O’Neill faces felony charges of ethnic intimidation and stalking, and misdemeanor counts of terroristic threats with the intent to terrorize another, as well as harassment.

At present, O’Neill is in York County Prison after he had his bail set at $50,000. A preliminary hearing for O’Neill is scheduled for Aug. 23, according to ABC 27.

O’Neill has a history of harassing the church that goes back a few years. In 2019, for example, he was arrested after trespassing on the church’s property, reportedly looking for his cat.

Later that year, O’Neill reportedly pointed a flare gun at church member Alex Kolesink while he was trying to flee from O’Neill in a truck, according to the York Daily Record.

Located near Harrisburg, Slavic Baptist has set up a relief fund to help refugees fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Gifts towards this relief fund will help establish safe shelters for refugees, provide food, water, and emergency supplies, and offer comfort and hope to the people of Ukraine during their time of great need,” stated the church.

“Philippians 2:4 tells us to ‘look not only to [our] own interests, but also to the interests of others.’ Let’s join together to serve the nation of Ukraine.”

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