Coeur d'Alene man to stand trial for racially charged attack

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) - A north Idaho man is scheduled to stand trial in December after police say he yelled racial slurs at members of a Spokane church youth group and beat the youth group's leader.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports Richard Sovenski of Hayden, Idaho has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor battery and felony malicious harassment charges. Malicious harassment is Idaho's hate crime law.

The charges arose from an incident July 12 at a McDonald's restaurant in Coeur d'Alene. The youth group leader Quezacoatl Ceniceros told police that Sovenski pushed him to the ground and punched him and yelled racial slurs at the group.

Sovenski's wife Colleen Sovenski said the teens were rowdy at the restaurant and her husband told the youths to settle down before he and the youth leader began arguing. Sovenski says the teens spit ice cream on his car.

Malicious harassment is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.