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Man arrested, accused of throwing pipe bomb at Satanic Temple in Massachusetts

No one was hurt in the incident last week in Salem. A hair strand on the device was used to extract a DNA sample.
A man stands on a later outside the Satanic Temple where a "Hell House" was being held in Salem, Massachusett on October 8, 2019. - The Hell House was a paradoy on a Christian Conversion center meant to scare atheist and other Satanic Church members.
A man stands on a ladder outside the Satanic Temple in Salem, Mass., in 2019.Joseph Prezioso / AFP via Getty Images file
/ Source: The Associated Press

BOSTON — An Oklahoma man was arrested Wednesday after authorities accused him of throwing a pipe bomb at the Massachusetts headquarters of a group called The Satanic Temple.

The Salem-based group says on its website that it campaigns for secularism and individual liberties, and that its members don’t actually worship Satan.

Sean Patrick Palmer, 49, of Perkins, Oklahoma, has been charged with using an explosive to damage a building following an attack last week on the headquarters, which is also used as an art gallery.

Several phone numbers associated with Palmer were out of service Wednesday, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts said they didn’t yet have the name of any lawyer representing him. He is due to make an initial court appearance in Oklahoma on Thursday. If found guilty, he could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Surveillance cameras showed a man walk up to the building soon after 4 a.m. on April 8 wearing a face covering, tactical vest and gloves, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI. The man then ignited an improvised explosive device, threw it at the main entrance, then ran away. The bomb partially detonated, resulting in some minor fire damage, authorities said.

The bomb appeared to be made from a piece of plastic pipe, authorities said, and they were able to extract a DNA sample from a single hair on the bomb.

The attorney’s office said investigators found a six-page note in a flowerbed near the attack addressed to “Dear Satanist” and urged repentance. Authorities said Palmer had posted similar comments on social media.

The attorney’s office also said surveillance footage showed a black Volvo registered to Palmer driving erratically in the area before and after the incident, and it said Palmer had recently bought some PVC pipe from a home improvement store in Oklahoma.

The Satanic Temple says on its website that it doesn’t believe in the existence of Satan or the supernatural. The group could not immediately be reached for comment.