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Suspended priest went to D.C. rally

LIMA — An Orthodox priest in Ohio said he was suspended for attending President Donald Trump’s rally near the White House three weeks ago before a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Father Mark Hodges said he was told by a church leader that he was “guilty by association” in a letter outlining his three-month suspension.

“I think it’s an unjust suspension,” Hodges said.

He said he marched toward the Capitol on Jan. 6, but left when he saw a group “intending to violently antagonize the police” and officers using tear gas.

“My beloved bishop had questioned the wisdom of a priest attending,” he said. “I think part of the problem is I viewed that “Stop the Steal” rally as expressing extreme concern over voter fraud allegations in the 2020 election.”

Hodges, who spent 20 years at St. Stephen the First Martyr Orthodox Church in Lima, now works as a substitute priest in Ohio and Michigan.

Archbishop Paul Gassios of the Diocese of the Midwest Orthodox Church in America confirmed the suspension.

“I will not comment on the details of the suspension as that is between myself and Father Mark to address,” Gassios said in a statement.

Magistrate denies bond in breach case

DAYTON — A federal magistrate refused Friday to set bond for an Ohio man charged with helping plot the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The Dayton judge said didn’t see a way to ensure public safety if she allowed Donovan Crowl, 50, out of jail. Magistrate Sharon Ovington cited the “very serious” nature of the charges and firearms that could be available to him.

“The suggestion that I release him to a residence containing at least nine firearms is a nonstarter,” the magistrate said.

The Dayton Daily News reported that Crowl’s court-appointed attorney contended he had little criminal history and had tried to rescue others during the Jan. 6 riots. Crowl on Tuesday became among the first suspects charged with conspiracy.

Also charged was Jessica Watkins, 38, also of Champaign County, Ohio. Watkins remains held without bond in the Montgomery County jail.

The FBI identified them as part of the Oath Keepers, which believes in a “shadowy conspiracy” to strip Americans of their rights.

Details of the documents made public offer some insight to planning and coordination behind the extraordinary attack involving extremist supporters of then-President Donald Trump.

Watkins and Crowl allegedly belong to the Ohio State Regular Militia, dues-paying members of the Oath Keepers.

They are charged with counts including conspiracy, conspiracy to hurt an officer, violent entry, obstruction of official business, and destruction of government property.

Asked in a Tuesday hearing whether she understood the charges, the Daily News reported, Watkins replied: “I understand them but I don’t understand how I got them.”

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