A Texas woman is in legal hot water for repeatedly terrorizing a Jewish temple, even missing a court date for one incident to continue harassing the same location.
Ezra Law first appeared at the Congregation Emanu El temple in Houston last week, according to Harris County prosecutors. She was spotted on the house of worship’s pulpit by a rabbi who was arriving to prepare for a bar mitzvah ceremony on January 14. Assistant Harris County District Attorney Erica Winsor said Law had allegedly vandalized the temple, damaging certain objects and creating a general state of disarray, according to Click2Houston.
“The damage is immeasurable,” Winsor said. “There were several religious items that had been removed from their place. Some were damaged, there was red wine that had been consumed and also spilled. Most importantly, there was a Torah scroll that was removed from the Holy Arc and spread out on the floor. And there was red wine that was spilled on that scroll.”
The damage to the Torah was singled out by Winsor as particularly detrimental, as such scrolls are handwritten over the course of many years. Due to the damage, Winsor said that “it can’t just be repaired,” and “might have to be replaced” entirely.
Law was subsequently arrested and scheduled to be arraigned in court on Friday. However, she did not appear and was later found to have returned to Congregation Emanu El to inflict further harassment.
Witnesses and officials reported that Law allegedly shouted at preschool students who were attending temple services. She left the scene before law enforcement could arrive, leading to a warrant for her arrest.
Law currently faces a charge of felony criminal mischief inside a place of worship. Her precise mental state will be further evaluated once she is booked into jail. Prosecutors are also now working to determine if her actions meet the standards of a hate crime.
The Texas penal code defines a hate crime as “a criminal act committed against a person or person’s property that is motivated by bias against a person’s or group’s race, color, disability, religion, national origin or ancestry, age, gender, sexual preference, gender identity and expression, or status as a peace officer or judge.”