Accused Church Vandal Arrested

University Police yesterday arrested a man who allegedly punched a Harvard Police officer after vandalizing a Bible and clogging a toilet in Memorial Church, officials said.

Christopher W. Manhoff, 26, ripped the pages out of a Bible and two hymn books, throwing them into the air as he paced up and down the main sanctuary aisle, according to Police Chief Paul E. Johnson and eyewitnesses.

Manhoff, a Braintree resident, fled after Church officials praying in Appleton Chapel interrupted morning services to investigate the noise in the church, said eyewitness Howard B. Fauntroy, a Memorial Church seminarian.

Rev. Peter J. Gomes, Plummer professor of Christian Morals, and David Muir, security supervisor at Widener Library, chased Manhoff through the Yard while others called Harvard Police, Fauntroy said.

When Officer Bruce Kwong intercepted Manhoff, the suspect allegedly punched Kwong in the face "without warning," Johnson said.


Kwong recovered and chased the suspect on foot. Kwong and Officer Robert King stopped Manhoff as he ran onto Mass. Ave.

"It's definitely disconcerting seeing a man throw around a Bible and hymn books," Fauntroy said. "It was something extremely out of the ordinary."

The suspect also allegedly clogged toilet and sinks in the women's bathroom with toilet paper, Johnson said.

Manhoff was charged with assault and battery of a police officer, destruction of property and interrupting an assembly of worship. He will be arraigned in Cambridge Third District Court on Monday.

Prayers resumed shortly after the chase ended, Fauntroy said