This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
A Colorado man has pleaded guilty to a federal "hate" crime for trying to torch a Christian church.
A statement from the Department of Justice said Darion Ray Sexton, 22, admitted setting the fire by throwing two Molotov cocktails at the front door and at the church basement.
The attack happened in January to a church in Loveland.
"Sexton further admitted that he was motivated to set this fire due to the religious character of the church and that he intended to destroy the church," the DOJ reported.
"Protecting religious freedom and observance is a top priority for the Department of Justice," said DOJ spokeswoman Kristen Clarke.
"We will continue to vigorously prosecute those who attack houses of worship and target religious communities."
Sentencing in the case will be July 21, and Sexton faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
"We all have a right to feel safe and secure in our houses of worship – no matter our religion or belief," said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan. "An act of violence in one of our sacred places is especially serious, and we will work with our law enforcement partners to vigorously prosecute all such offenses."
Mark Michalek, of the FBI, explained, "The FBI treats hate crimes as the highest priority of our civil rights program because everyone deserves to feel safe to exercise their religion without fear of violence from others.
"FBI Denver is committed to protecting those rights, and we will continue to aggressively work with our law enforcement partners to bring justice to all communities that have been targeted."
A report from the Denver Gazette said it was Abiding Love Lutheran Church that was targeted.
The attack happened early during the evening hours of Jan. 19. The Molotovs "charred the church's front door and caused slight damage in the basement."
The blazes were put out by the church's sprinkler system.
Investigators located Sexton easily because he left footpringsi n the snow.