Hate Crime Charges Possible in Oregon Cross Burning Case

A prosecutor says he's not ruling out the possibility of hate crime charges if authorities can collar whoever burned a cross in the yard of a Benton County woman.

District Attorney John Haroldson says his office takes hate crimes "very, very seriously," and he would review the case to determine if such charges are warranted.

Last weekend, Summer MacLean of Alsea found a 5-foot cross charred in her lawn. She is the white mother of a 13-year-old adopted African-American child.

The cross was described as constructed of two-by-fours and covered with a sheet.

Investigating officers say they initially classified the incident as reckless burning because investigators hadn't turned up evidence of threats or prejudice.