AMES — A man has been charged in the torching of a church’s LGBTQ pride flag this week.
WHO-TV, an NBC affiliate in Des Monies, on Wednesday reported that Adolfo Martinez, faces multiple charges including harassment, reckless use of fire, and theft.
Police told the station that Martinez allegedly tore the flag down from the doorway of Ames United Church of Christ, took it to a nearby “gentlemen’s club” and set it on fire. Brooke Schlickte, an employee at the Dangerous Curves club, told WHO that Martinez held the flag in one hand and was spraying it with lighter fluid, which also caught another customer’s tire on fire.
“We have been preparing for violence ourselves so it’s not surprising, but it is heart breaking,” Pastor [Eileen] Gebbie said.
Police say there are only charred remnants of the flag.
The church forgives Martinez but Schlickte says Martinez can never return to the gentleman’s club again.
“I have a no trespassing order he is not welcomed back in my bar, if I see him on my cameras i am calling the cops immediately,” Schlickte said.
Police say Martinez didn’t seem to be drunk and admitted to stealing the flag and lighting it on fire.
The burning was one day after Des Moines celebrated Capital City Pride.