Man accused of vandalizing monastery pleads not guilty

MIAMI (WSVN) - A man accused of vandalizing a North Miami Beach monastery says he is innocent.

Appearing in court, Monday, Jorge Ariza-Mendoza pleaded not guilty for incidents that occurred last month during three visits to the St. Bernard de Clairvaux Church.

Police, however, said Ariza-Mendoza destroyed signs and an 800-year-old statue at the monastery, and on June 19, he threatened to kill everyone attending a prayer service there. “He approached me at the altar,” said Father Gregory Mansfield, a priest at the monastery, “and said, ‘I’m going to shoot the priest and kill everybody who stays. I want everybody out now.'”

Ariza-Mendoza faces charges of aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief.

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