2 men charged with federal hate crime in assault of LDS missionary in Payson

Police say men targeted Black proselytizer and not his Caucasian partner.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Church Office Building in Salt Lake City is home to the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Payson • More than three years after a missionary with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was assaulted in Payson, two men have been charged with federal hate crime offenses.

Nathan Thomas, 22, and Sebastian West, 22, both residents of Payson, were charged in connection with the attack.

In February 2020, Fox 13 News reported that a Black Panamanian missionary was with his partner on their way to teach a family in their home when individuals wearing dark hoodies and red bandanas approached them.

The suspects allegedly mocked and taunted the missionary before physically attacking him, punching him in the head and face, court documents reported in 2020.

During the entire assault, the suspects did not target the missionary’s partner who was identified as Caucasian. An investigation began to determine if the attack was racially motivated.

Read more about the case at fox13now.com.

Editor’s note • The Salt Lake Tribune and FOX 13 are content-sharing partners.