Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

NJ man pleads guilty to threatening Orthodox Jews for pandemic

(JTA) — A New Jersey man has pleaded guilty to threatening the Jewish community of Lakewood over violations of the state’s lockdown rules that took place there in March.

Anthony Lodespoto, 43, pleaded guilty to charges of “bias intimidation” on Friday, New Jersey Advance Media reported Monday. Prosecutors are seeking a six-month jail term for Lodespoto, who has been jailed since his arrest.

He used Facebook’s direct messaging feature to threaten the Jewish community of Lakewood, a township with a large Orthodox population that at the time had reported a higher number of coronavirus cases than surrounding areas. In his messages, which he sent to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy among others, Lodespoto said he would attack Jews there with a baseball bat.

Lodespoto reportedly was angry about parties in Lakewood, including multiple Jewish weddings, that did not comply with the state’s social distancing rules. Criticism of Lakewood’s Jews was rampant on social media at the time, prompting Murphy to condemn hate speech inspired by the pandemic.

“Scapegoating, bullying, or vilification of any community is completely unacceptable – today or ever,” Murphy wrote on Twitter in late March. “There is a special place in hell for the small minority that do this during this crisis.”

The post NJ man pleads guilty to threatening Orthodox Jews during pandemic’s early days appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.