An area man was sentenced after a plot to burn a mosque in New York. (Photo: MGNOnline)

This week, a judge sentenced a Signal Mountain man after he was found guilty of soliciting another person to commit arson and burn down a mosque outside Hancock, New York.

Robert Doggart, 65, of Signal Mountain, was sentenced by Curtis L. Collier, senior U.S. district judge, to serve 235 months in prison for soliciting another person to violate federal civil rights laws by burning down the mosque.

Upon his release from prison, he will be supervised by the U.S. probation office for three years.  

Evidence presented at trial established that, in February 2015, the FBI learned through a confidential source that Doggart was recruiting people online to carry out an armed attack on Islamberg, a community outside Hancock that is home to a large Muslim population. 

Doggart arranged to meet with the confidential source in Nashville, where he discussed details of his plan to burn down a mosque, school and cafeteria in Islamberg, according to a news release.   

He showed the confidential source maps of Islamberg, laid out the number of guns and types of ammunition they would need to destroy the community, and discussed ways to burn down a mosque and other buildings, according to a news release. 

Through a court order, the FBI also began intercepting Doggart’s phone calls, during which he solicited and recruited people to join him in his attack.

Doggart specifically targeted the mosque because it is a religious building, and he discussed burning it down or blowing it up with a Molotov cocktail or other explosive device.

At trial, the jury heard recorded conversations in which Doggart repeatedly discussed killing people, including one in which Doggart said, “I don’t want to have to kill children, but there’s always collateral damage,” also according to the news release. 

“The people of the Eastern District of Tennessee will not tolerate the type of threats and actions perpetrated by Doggart,” U.S. Attorney Nancy Stallard Harr said in a prepared statement. “The United States attorney’s office will aggressively prosecute those who seek to disrupt the safety of our community and others.”