Suspect in arson released on probation

| November 11, 2009

CANTON — A Potsdam teen charged with setting fire to St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Potsdam has been released to probation supervision.

Craig A. Foley, 18, of 114A Smith Road, pleaded innocent Monday at arraignment in St. Lawrence County Court before Judge Jerome J. Richards on a felony third-degree arson charge.

He is accused of starting a fire Oct. 29, 2008, that damaged the church's altar and the carpet around it. An automated fire alarm prevented more serious damage from occurring, fire officials said.

The teen told police he went to the church "to talk to God" because he wanted to release his anger after fighting with his stepfather. He lit some candles and a book of matches at the altar, along with stabbing two knives into a fake pumpkin, according to his police statement.

Mr. Foley then tossed the burning book of matches onto the rug. He attempted to put out the fire, but had no luck, the police report said.

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Category: Church Security

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