Columbus, OH

Columbus man pleads guilty to harassment of neighbors

Paul Krasinic

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COLOMBUS, OH — A Columbus man has pleaded guilty to interfering with the right to fair housing in a federal court. The charges arise from the defendant’s antisemitic threats against his neighbors.

Douglas G. Schifer, 66, endangered neighbors and their guests due to their faith during an outdoor celebration at the neighbors’ home on Nov. 7, 2020, according to court documents.

Schifer confessed to threatening to shoot the neighbors along with their dog and “burn to the ground” a garage where the neighbors were rebuilding into an apartment.

On Nov. 7, 2020, Schifer hurled antisemitic obscenities, slurs, and several disparaging remarks about their religion at his neighbors and their visitors. In addition, he shattered one of their windows and spat on one of the neighbors. He also made reference to gassing Jewish people, chopping them up, and burning them in the oven.

In March, Schifer was charged in a federal criminal complaint. Schifer could face a fine of up to $100,000 as well as a year in prison.

Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Vipal J. Patel, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cincinnati Division Chris Hoffman, and Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant declared the plea entered on Monday, June 28 in front of U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr.

The United States is represented in this case by the Assistant United States Attorney Peter K. Glenn-Applegate, Senior Litigation Counsel Heather A. Hill, and Trial Attorney Cameron Bell of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

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