Two Men Charged with Hate Crime After Attacking Latter-day Saint Missionary

More than three years after a missionary with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was assaulted in Payson, two men have been charged with federal hate crime offenses.

In January 2020, two men attacked a black Panamanian missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in Payson, Utah. The missionary was with his white companion on the way to teach a family in the area.

Nathan Thomas and Sebastian West, along with four other men, approached the missionaries and began to yell racial slurs. According to the charging documents released, Thomas and West told the missionary to “go back where he came from” and “get out of their ‘hood.”

The group then attacked the missionary, pinning him down and beating him. The missionary was punched and kicked in the head, face, and torso. After the attack, both Thomas and West were found guilty of misdemeanor assault and third-degree felony assault. Others in the attack who were underage faced similar charges.

This week, the United States District Court of Utah filed federal hate crime charges for the assault, claiming the attack was racially motivated. Thomas and West face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

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