September 30, 2014

Former Klansman Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crime for Cross Burning

WASHINGTON—Timothy Flanagan, 33, pleaded guilty today in federal court in Nashville, Tennessee, for his role in the April 30, 2012, cross burning in front of an interracial family’s home in Minor Hill, Tennessee, the Department of Justice announced. Flanagan pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring with others to threaten, intimidate and interfere with an African-American man’s enjoyment of his housing rights, and one count of interfering with those housing rights.

Flanagan—a former member of the Church of the National Knights, a Ku Klux Klan affiliate—admitted during the plea hearing that on the night of April 30,2012, he and two other individuals devised a plan to burn a cross in the yard of an African American man in Minor Hill, Tennessee. Flanagan’s co-conspirator, Timothy Stafford, constructed a wooden cross in a workshop behind his house. Using Flanagan’s credit card, Stafford and co-conspirator Ivan “Rusty” London then purchased diesel-fuel with which to soak the cross. Flanagan and the other co-conspirators then drove the cross to the victim’s residence and upon arriving at the residence, Flanagan and London exited the truck. The cross was placed in the driveway leading up to the house and was ignited. The co-conspirators burned the cross with the purpose of intimidating the African-American male who resided at that residence.

Ivan “Rusty” London IV, 21, of Lexington, Kentucky, and Timothy Stafford, 41, of Minor Hill, Tennessee, previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the conspiracy, and are currently awaiting sentencing.

“Hate-motivated crimes will not be tolerated in our country,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Molly Moran for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute individuals who violate the rights of others because of race.”

“There can be no tolerance for such acts of intimidation when innocent persons are targeted simply because of their race,” said U.S. Attorney David Rivera for the Middle District of Tennessee. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners will work tirelessly to protect the civil rights of all persons and bring to justice, anyone who would attempt to impede the constitutionally protected right to liberty of any person.”

Timothy Flanagan faces up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $500,000. Timothy Stafford faces up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. Ivan London faces up to five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. Sentencing for Flanagan is set for January 8, 2015.

This case was investigated by the Columbia, Tennessee, Division of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Jared Fishman of the Civil Rights Division and by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal McDonough of the Middle District of Tennessee.