An Ohio man has been indicted on a federal hate crimes charge in what authorities say was a racially motivated arson at a church with a mostly black congregation.

The indictment against 23-year-old Ronald Pudder of Conneaut contains two felony counts of damaging a church based on bias and arson.

Pudder is accused in a fire that damaged the entrance to the First Azusa Apostolic Faith Church of God in the northeast Ohio town before dawn on May 20. No one was hurt.
The federal government said it’s the only black church in the community of about 12,000, which has a 1 percent black population and is located between Cleveland and Erie, Pa.
The indictment was detailed at a news conference Friday with the nation’s top civil rights attorney, Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
He said the government was determined to deter a rash of copycat crimes.
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