Church desecration case brings more arrests

The list of those charged in connection with the robbery and desecration of St. John the Baptist Church keeps growing. Last week, Westport police charged Jesse Cutler, 27, of New Bedford with a list of offenses nearly as long as those filed earlier against his 29-year-old brother, Martin Cutler of Taunton. These include breaking and entering in the nighttime (a felony), malicious damage, larceny over $250, intimidation of a witness, Massachusetts Civil Rights violation— desecration of a place of worship causing over $5,000 in damage, and conspiracy. Westport detective Ryan Nickelson said that Jesse Cutler had been arrested on lesser charges in Mattapoisett involving the theft of wire but turned himself in after learning of the more serious charges against him by Westport Police. Bail was allowed but he remained in jail as of late last week. Jesse Cutler was not charged with the use of infected bodily fluid (poison) into a receptacle that held sacred holy water. That charge was made against his brother Martin Cutler who allegedly urninated in the church's holy water (he reportedly has hepatitis C). Also late last week, Det. Nickelson said that New Bedford police prepared charges against the Cutlers' mother, Michelle Sullivan, 55, of New Bedford, and their father-in-law, Timothy Sullivan, 58, of receiving stolen property. Police say several of the stolen church items were found at the Sullivans' residence in New Bedford. Det. Nickelson said the investigation remains active and that charges against others who may have participated in or known about the crime may follow. "We continue to work very hard on this case," he said. Police say the two Cutler brothers and two other friends were returning from a day at the beach in Westport on the night of March 1 when they made a side-trip into Westport Village. There, Jesse and Martin Cutler allegedly entered the unlocked church stole items, smashed others and committed several acts of desecration.


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