Teen charged with setting fire to Minnesota church 21 Jun 18

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) – Authorities allege a teenager set fire to a 118-year-old Catholic church in central Minnesota in March 2016, causing several millions of dollars in damage.

Prosecutors in Stearns County charged the teen with first-degree arson for allegedly setting fire to the Church of St. Mary in Melrose. The suspect was 13 at the time.

Sheriff’s investigators interviewed the teen earlier this month. Additional details were not released because juvenile court proceedings are confidential.

The Romanesque Revival-style church is a fixture in Melrose with its 130-foot towers. Authorities say the fire badly damaged the sacristy area and destroyed the wooden altar, which was made in Germany and installed before the church’s dedication in 1899.

Stearns County Sheriff Don Gudmundson says he hopes solving the 22-month-old case will put the community at ease.