Crime

Civil rights unit involved in arson investigation of Virgin Mary statue in Dorchester

The incident happened around 10 p.m. Saturday.

The Virgin Mary statue burned in Dorchester. Boston Fire Department via Twitter

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Boston police are continuing to investigate the burning of a Virgin Mary statue in front of St. Peter’s Parish in Dorchester, and the department’s civil rights unit is involved.

The civil rights unit is investigating if there are any bias indicators related to the incident, according to Sgt. John Boyle, a spokesman for the department. The arson unit is also looking into the matter.

Police and fire officials were called to the statue near the Bowdoin Street church around 10 p.m. Saturday for a report of it being on fire. Authorities believe someone set the plastic flowers the statue was holding on fire, and the blaze damaged the upper body and face.

The Archdiocese of Boston said the statue will be cleaned this week, and St. Peter’s Rev. John Currie will hold a rosary service there at 7 p.m. Wednesday, according to Terrence Donilon, a spokesman for the archdiocese, in an email to The Boston Globe.

The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts called the incident a “lawless and malicious act of violence” in a news release on its website. C.J. Doyle, the league’s executive director, wants a hate crime investigation.

Boston police are asking for the public’s help with the investigation, and those who may know something can call the department at 617-343-4330 or use the department’s anonymous tip line at 1-800-494-TIPS or by texting TIP to CRIME (27463).

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