Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders are offering to help the teenager who has pleaded guilty to painting swastikas and threats on their places of worship last fall.
The white supremacist calls himself the son of Hitler.
Court documents show their effort to work with him, known as “collaborative justice,” could help reduce the youth’s sentence.
On Friday morning, the teenaged boy pleaded guilty to five charges including inciting hatred, threatening people because of their race or religion, and possessing dangerous weapons.
A judge still needs to make the final decision at a sentencing hearing in May. The youth turned 18 soon after his arrest and could face an adult sentence. He has convictions as a youth for assault and robbery.
The documents presented in court Friday show the offer from the religious leaders wasn’t easy for any of them. All were badly shaken by a week of spray-painted hate attacks last November on a church, a mosque and several synagogues.
Years after four racist thugs killed his brother, Rev. Anthony Bailey arrived at Parkdale United Church to see their same hateful words spray-painted on his church doors.
This sight “acted as a trigger for the memory and trauma of the murder of my brother John in Montreal some decades ago,” Bailey wrote in a victim impact statement.
“Four men charged us with knives having yelled let’s go kill these ‘Ni—rs.’ He bled to death in my arms on the street before help could arrive.”
Ahmed Ibrahim of the Ottawa Mosque wrote that the attack made him feel “a momentary loss of belonging to my own home.”
“Deep in my heart I felt the pain and I had to stop for a moment to gather my thoughts and just to be able to breathe normally.” Since that day, “every time I receive a call from the Imam or the Ottawa Mosque office, my heart just jumps out of fear expecting the worst.”
A senior member of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, who lives alone, wrote of living in fear after an attack at a private home that is also used as a prayer centre.
“An attack on the home of a private citizen was not something our community had ever previously experienced,” he wrote. “It felt like the Jewish community was under siege, along with other faith-based institutions.”
Yet these same people volunteered to meet with their attacker and help him.
The youth, who can’t be named because of his age, had a Facebook page filled with Nazi slogans and threats of violence again Jews, Muslims and non-white people, as well as children.
Police already knew about his hidden, hate-filled world, however. At the time of a previous arrest (for shoplifting), he had accepted a Facebook friend request from an Ottawa detective, literally inviting investigators into his life.
Then, after several hate incidents in November, an alert citizen thought he recognized the handwriting in the graffiti. It looked just like the swastika and threatening words the teenager had scratched into the man’s car, he told police, and they put the boy under surveillance.
They caught him in the act of spray-painting his sixth target, the Soloway Jewish Community Centre near Broadview Avenue.
That’s when the full extent of the boy’s hate bubbled to the surface, partly from Facebook but also through his cellphone records.
His Facebook page says his father’s name is Hitler, according to a statement of facts presented jointly by the Crown and defence Friday.
It lists his occupation as “hit man for Hitler,” and his political views as “Nazi death squads.” Religious views are “Satanism, Nazism and Destruction.”
It adds: “I will kill you on sight, don’t think I won’t fight. I will cut your throat you filthy Jew.”
His favourite quotes are given as “Heil Hitler,” “Sieg Heil” and “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
His cellphone, with a swastika on the cover, led police to a YouTube account threatening to kill Jews, blacks, Chinese and Muslims.
The history on his cellphone included searches for “offensive things to Jews,” “what Nazi unit did holocaust,” and “Ottawa Jewish school.”
It also had searches for the addresses of places he spray-painted.
The boy later told a psychiatrist after his arrest that he picked Jewish targets “because I get a better reaction,” but moved on to others “because there are only so many synagogues in Ottawa.”
He has tattoos of a swastika and the initials of a white power organization. Police say his red and white shoelaces (one of each) are symbols worn by white skinhead groups.
His cellphone history indicates he belongs to Stormfront, a white power Internet group.
The boy also has a history with weapons, mostly knives and hammers. Arrested with a hunting knife and spray paint last April at the Ottawa International Airport, he was released by a lenient police officer. But the next day he attempted to rob a 73-year-old woman of her car keys at knifepoint (she refused and went back inside Walmart for safety) and a month later he used a home-made wooden “shiv” to escape from a group home.
“The accused also appears to be defiant,” the joint statement says. In November he sent a message to a friend bragging that he had been out of custody for nearly three months and “got so much shit done in that time the cops cant (sic) stop shit.”
The youth first turned down the offer of support from one of his victims when Parkdale United’s Bailey met him in jail in December. Later the Jewish and Muslim leaders joined in.