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Arrest made in Haverhill creche desecration

By Associated Press and Pilot Staff
Posted: 1/16/2015

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HAVERHILL -- Police announced an arrest, Jan. 14, in the case of a creche desecrated at Sacred Hearts Parish in Haverhill on Christmas.

Police said a 54-year-old homeless woman, Amarillis Cermeno, had demonstrated a type of obsession with religious issues in the past and was charged with stealing the statue of the Baby Jesus from the creche and replacing it with the head of a pig.

Police think Cermeno, who was known to look through trash bins for food, found the pig's head after it had been discarded by a family having a traditional Christmas pig roast.

She is currently undergoing a mental health evaluation after being arrested for allegedly scrawling "666" on another Haverhill church, La Iglesia Biblica Bautista.

Police said the crime was not a hate crime, but Cermeno is scheduled to be arraigned on charges including destruction to a place of worship; malicious destruction of property; and larceny.

The vandalism was discovered Christmas morning by parochial vicar Father Benjamin T. LeTran, who had last checked the creche just after celebrating the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass.