NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating arson in the Staten Island neighborhood of Stapleton after a Molotov cocktail was thrown through the front window of St. Paul’s Memorial Episcopal Church on Sunday. No one was injured in the small fire that broke out as a result of the attack and damage to the church was minor.
The historic St. Paul’s was built in the 1860s of Staten Island trap rock with brownstone trim and designed by architect Edward Tuckerman Potter. The church was consecrated by Potter’s uncle, Bishop Horatio Potter. Edward Potter was the architect responsible for building Mark Twain’s Hartford, CT residence.
In 2009 St. Paul’s was at the center of an embezzlement scandal after The Rev. William Blasingame was accused of stealing over $84,000 earmarked for parishioners in need and church upkeep. According to prosecutors, Blasingame used the money to pay for plastic surgery and prescription medication. He was sentenced to 5 years of probation and ordered to pay back the embezzled funds. Photo credit: Staten Island Advance/Shane DiMaio