Update: Man charged with assaulting elderly Mennonite women

Written by The Associated Press | Dec 16, 2012 1:16 PM

(Lancaster) -- Central Pennsylvania police have charged a 22-year-old man with attacking three elderly Mennonite women because of their faith.

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Northern Lancaster County Regional Police say Dereck Taylor Holt faces counts including aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation, and burglary.

Authorities say Holt posed as an insurance salesman to gain entrance to the victims' home in Clay Township on Friday.

Police say he tied up the women, who are sisters, and assaulted them with a stun gun while raging against their religion. They add Holt ransacked the house, poured household chemicals on floors and furniture, and read passages from the women's Bible before vandalizing it.

The victims are between 84 and 90 years old. They remained hospitalized yesterday.

Police say Holt indicated he was once a Mennonite.

Police Chief David Steffen says he's pursuing the attack as a hate crime. He plans a news conference tomorrow.

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