Two men who vandalized a Hindu temple in Minneapolis got a break when the leader of the temple helped persuade a judge to give them lighter sentences.

“In this day and age of ‘Eye for an Eye,”’ Dr. Shashikant Sane told Hennepin County District Judge Kevin Burke, the two men deserved a chance to become “productive citizens,” not “hardened criminals.”

Both men pleaded guilty earlier to smashing statues of deities at the ornate Hindu Manir Temple, causing about $200,000 in damage a few months before the temple was to open.

The vandalism was a shock to the growing Minneapolis-area Hindu community.

“When we saw the decapitated and dismembered sculptures … our feelings were akin to seeing the shattered bodies of brutally murdered family members,” said Sane, chairman of the temple’s board of trustees.

Three weeks ago, Spakousky and Tuomie stood before about 50 temple members asking their forgiveness, and they were remorseful again Thursday.

viaThe Hindu