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Gay 'Arson Victim' Charged With Setting Fire


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Gay 'Arson Victim' Charged With Setting Fire

by Fidel Ortega 365Gay.com Miami Bureau

Posted: October 12, 2005 7:00 pm ET

(Lakeland, Florida) A Lakeland man who received an outpouring of support from gays across the nation when the mobile home he shared with his partner was destroyed in an apparent homophobic attack in July has been arrested and charged with setting the blaze.

When Lakeland firefighters arrived at the trailer they found the words "die fag" spray painted on front of the home and the structure fully enveloped in flames. (story)

Walking with police through the burned out mobile home Christopher Michael Robertson said all the items of value had been stolen.

Investigators helped him fill out insurance claims and arson investigators began probing the cause of the fire.

The investigation led back to Robertson.

Police Wednesday said that Robertson now has confessed to starting the fire. He has been charged with arson, making fraudulent insurance claims and filing false reports to law enforcement.

His domestic partner, Paul E. Day, had no part in the alleged crimes and is cooperating with investigators, investigators said. said.

The fire came during a summer in which there was a series of arson attacks across the country attributed to homophobia.

In July a gay club in Brownsville, Texas was gutted by arson. (story) The week before, fire destroyed the only gay club in Fayetteville, Arkansas in an arson attack. (story)

On July 9, fire damaged a gay-positive church in Middlebrook, Virginia. Police said the arsonist had scrawled a message on the exterior of St. John's Reformed United Church of Christ saying that UCC members were sinners.

The United Church of Christ endorsed a resolution days earlier endorsing same-sex marriage. The resolution was not binding on the denomination's 1.3 million members. (story)

©365Gay.com 2005


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