Man pleads not guilty in case of stolen cross relic
Earl Frost, 35, pleaded not guilty to the felony of receiving The Relic of the True Cross, which was stolen last year from a Boston cathedral, and is being held on bail of $10,000.
Police told the AP that the relic, which is over 2,000 years old, is about two inches in width.
It had been kept in an inner chapel inside of a round, glass case, that was edged and backed with brass. In the back, it was stamped with the seal of the pope’s ring.
When the relic was reported missing Lt. detective Michael Conley told The Boston Globe, “Somebody knew what it was.”
There was no indication of forced entry into the cathedral, but the casing that kept the relic had been pried open.
The relic dates back to the 18th century, when it was given to Boston’s first bishop, Rev. Jean-Louis Lefebvre de Cheverus.
It is one of many similar relics the world over that are believed to be parts of the cross of Jesus.
Terrence C. Donilon, spokesman of the archdiocese told The Boston Globe, “The Relic of the True Cross is an important sacramental that helps Christians contemplate the crucified Savior and the great suffering He endured for the salvation of the world.”
Frost told the Vermont police last August that he had the relic, but he denied stealing it.
Instead, Frost claimed that he acquired the artifact from a person in Rhode Island.
The Vermont State Police told the AP that they came to know of the artifact with the help of Richard Duncan, the partner of Frost. Duncan and Frost had a heated argument, after which Duncan went to the police and told them there was a matter that they needed to know about, but they should hear it from Frost.
When the police contacted Frost, the latter informed them that he had the Catholic relic.
He added that Duncan and he had argued because Frost wanted to return the artifact directly to the church, while Duncan said it should be handed over to the police.
Church verifies authenticity
Officials of the church verified the authenticity of the artifact, but by then, Frost had gone to New Hampshire, where he was arrested on unrelated charges.
Because he did not agree to be extradited to Vermont, his arraignment at the Windsor County Superior Court was delayed and only took place last Tuesday. His next court hearing will be on July 12.
Prosecutor Robert Sand said the value of relics such as these is usually established by the church and by eBay.
“The standard definition of fair market is what a willing buyer will pay a willing seller,” the AP reported.
Sand placed the value of the relic at around $3,000.