A Huntington Beach man has been convicted of starting three fires at an Irvine church because he disagreed with its stance against masturbation.
Izad Chavoshan, 32, pleaded guilty Tuesday to three felonies of arson, one felony of attempted arson and a hate crime sentencing enhancement, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.
Chavoshan, who has a strike from a prior conviction of criminal threats from 1998, could either be placed on probation or face up to 20 years in state prison, prosecutors said. His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 19 in Santa Ana.
Chavoshan, who used to be a member of the church, moved trash cans to the front of the Orange County Church of Christ and set the trash on fire on three separate occasions between Oct. 15 and 19, 2009, prosecutors said.
Irvine police opened an investigation and began monitoring the church when Chavoshan was caught two nights later trying to break the glass of the church's front door. When that didn't work, he inserted a lit piece of paper between its doors, prosecutors said.
— Mona Shadia