Kroenke: White supremacist church leader innocent

AP, Jan. 15, 2003
http://www.trib.com/

RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) – Wyoming’s leader of the white supremacist World Church of the Creator believes Matt Hale, the sect’s national leader, did not arrange the murder of a federal judge.

”First, let me say I have a strong personal belief that (Hale) did not do the crimes as alleged,” said the Rev. Thomas F. Kroenke of Riverton in an e-mail interview.

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Hale, 31, was arrested this past Wednesday by agents of the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force as he arrived in Chicago’s federal courthouse for a contempt of court hearing in a lawsuit on trademark infringement.

Hale, of East Peoria, Ill., has been arrested on charges that he tried to get someone to kill U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow.

Lefkow has been presiding over the trademark case involving Hale’s use of the name World Church of the Creator. Lefkow recently ordered the organization to stop using the name and turn over all printed materials reading ”World Church of the Creator,” because the name infringed on the rights of an Oregon group, the TE-TA-MA Truth Foundation. But Hale refused to comply.

”The very idea that an intelligent man, such as P.M. (Pontifus Maximus) Hale, would be so foolish to conspire to murder a judge over any issue, much less an issue we are winning, is absurd,” Kroenke said.

”As I see it, the federal prosecutors are working from one of two angles. They have so misconstrued P.M. Hale’s words that they actually believe he engaged in such acts, or a mole/confidential informant type has come forward with false statements as was done in the Ben Smith shooting civil trials in which the JDL (Jewish Defense League) coerced false testimony from a church member by threatening to kill him and his family,” he said.

Smith, a former member of the World Church of the Creator, went on a deadly shooting rampage against minorities in Illinois and Indiana in 1999. He killed two people and wounded several others before killing himself.

Kroenke said Hale’s arrest won’t slow down the group’s activities across the country, and in Riverton.

”Even if P.M. Hale is convicted of these false charges, it will not alter our church’s work. P.M. Hale may become an imprisoned leader, but he is a leader and an outspoken advocate for the white race,” he said.

Kroenke, who has worked for the Wyoming Department of Corrections, was appointed by Hale as the group’s leader for Wyoming and its world leader of operations.

Hale announced in December the World Church of the Creator moved its world headquarters to Riverton.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday January 15, 2003.
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