Ruston man sentenced in hate crime

MONROE, La. (AP) - A Ruston man who pleaded guilty to placing a noose in the carport of a family's home in an act of racial intimidation has been sentenced to one year in federal prison.

A magistrate judge on Friday also ordered 37-year-old Robert Jackson to attend anger management and culture diversity programs as part of his sentence.

Jackson pleaded guilty in June to violating the federal Fair Housing Act.

Prosecutors said Jackson had worked for a company located next to the victims' Ruston home. The woman, a native of Honduras, lived there with her children and found the noose suspended from a bird feeder when she arrived home on June 13, 2008.

Prosecutors said Jackson was trying to "send a message" to black men who had been visiting the woman's home.

"A noose is an unmistakable symbol of hate in our country, and using this symbol tointimidate a family will not be tolerated," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division.

"The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute those who resort to violent acts motivated by hate."

"When a noose is used to interfere with federally protected rights, it is a crime which will be prosecuted by this office" said United States Attorney Finley. "

The victim and her family sought nothing more than to live in their home peacefully. Everyone should feel safe in their homes without being subjected to hateful acts."

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