Friday, May 25, 2007


At TheHawkEye website is a story about what police found when they searched the premises of the man charged with starting a fire in a Burlington historic church:

Kevin Michael Ravelin is charged with starting a fire that burned one of Burlington's most historic downtown churches, and police have linked him with satanism based on satanic items found on a search of his living quarters.

Ravelin, 28, allegedly told his roommate that he didn't believe in a Christian God and disliked churches, and police said they were told in 1998 that Ravelin was dabbling in satanism.

So far, however, Ravelin has not been charged with a hate crime, although the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives remains involved in the case.

Ravelin is charged with two counts of second-degree arson and two counts of first-degree burglary in connection with fires started in the early morning hours of April 29 at First United Methodist Church and First Presbyterian Church. The fire at First Presbyterian did minimal damage.

In a search of Ravelin's rented room, police seized numerous items they describe as satanic, including a metal chain with an inverted cross, a satanic mirror, a black T-shirt with "When Satan Lives" on it, the box for a video game "Devil May Cry," a satanic torture doll and a red gown.

Satanism is difficult to define. A Web search finds a host of conspiracies, occult speculation and alternative religions.

The term satanic is a general term police use in describing occult-like items found during searches "for lack of a better terminology," said Acting Police Chief Dan Luttenegger.

In the wake of the fires, community speculation about the acts and the motivations of the perpetrator have run rampant.

Despite speculation about a local satanic cult, satanism has not been a problem for the Burlington Police Department in recent years, according to Luttenegger.

The last time police responded to a call involving alleged satanism was in 2001 when an intoxicated and mentally disturbed man claiming to be Satan put his fist through a glass window. Police took the man to Great River Medical Center for injuries and a mental evaluation. No charges were filed.

Luttenegger is quick to point out that worshiping Satan is not illegal, and that police get involved only when an actual crime has occurred.

"It may not be what you're used to seeing or something you believe in, but they're doing nothing wrong," Luttenegger said. "In the same reality, being a member of a gang is not against the law, it's the actions that they take that makes these things illegal."

Hopefully you will be able to read the entire story at the print-friendly page in the website, since the original webpage with an ad and pictures takes a coffee break to load.

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