CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO.- A Missouri man has pleaded guilty to hate crime and arson violations for burning down The Islamic Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

According to a release from the Justice Department, on April 24, 2020, at the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Nicholas John Proffitt, 44, set fire to the Islamic Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

This Friday, April 24, 2020, photo shows damage to the Islamic Center of Cape Girardeau, Mo., after a fire. (Jacob Wiegand/The Southeast Missourian via AP)

The security system footage showed Proffitt throwing multiple objects through the building’s glass window, causing them to break and enter the building. He then poured two gallon-sized containers throughout the foyer and down the hallway.

Proffitt lit two fires that immediately spread through the inside of the building.

The Islamic Center building suffered severe damage, making it unsuitable for use as a religious center. Proffitt admitted that he set fire to the Islamic Center because of the religious character of the building.

“This is the second time Nicholas Proffitt attacked the Islamic Center in Cape Girardeau and his third attack against a house of worship,” said U.S. Attorney Sayler A. Fleming for the Eastern District of Missouri. “He placed the occupants of that building at risk of death or serious injury, and he will be held responsible for his actions with a significant prison sentence.”

Sentencing is scheduled for May 2, 2023. Proffitt faces up to 20 years in prison for damage to religious property and a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, for using fire to commit a federal felony.