Reformed Mennonite Church 1

Reformed Mennonite Church, 54 N. Middlesex Road, Carlisle

A man who has been fighting the Middlesex Reformed Mennonite Church for nearly 50 years faces new charges after police say they caught him in the act of gluing more than 30 posters to the church’s walls.

Robert Lehman Bear, 90, of Carlisle, was charged Friday with institutional vandalism, defiant trespass, intentional desecration of a public monument and disorderly conduct. As of Monday morning, he remained in Cumberland County Prison and was unable to post $90 bail.

Middlesex Towsnhip police were dispatched Friday for a report that Bear, who is banned from the church’s property in the first block of North Middlesex Road, was posting “manifestoes” and posters on the church’s walls, according to an affidavit of probable cause from Officer Justin G. Carver.

Carver said he arrived at the church and found Bear holding white posters with wording on them. There were 18 bottles of glue in a box next to him, 14 36-inch-by-24-inch posters next to the box, and 14 smaller paper packets also next to the box. All had writing on them.

There were also 17 posters glued to the south wall of the church, Carver wrote.

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The incident appears similar to a 2016 case when police charged Bear with institutional vandalism after he used several gallons of wood glue to plaster posters to the exterior of the church.

Bear has been in and out of both civil and criminal court for decades in his fight with the church.

He was excommunicated from the church in 1972, which estranged him from his wife and six children.

His case drew national attention in 1979 when he was charged with kidnapping after carrying his wife to his truck while at the West Shore Farmers Market. He was acquitted of those charges.

Following the 2016 incident of gluing posters to the church, he was found guilty and sentenced in January 2017 to serve seven to 23 months in Cumberland County Prison followed by three years probation.

According to court documents, he was paroled in April 2017. His parole was revoked in July 2018 after he was charged with harassment, stalking and defiant trespass. He was found guilty of harassment and defiant trespass and sentenced in March 2019 to 90 days in jail.

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Daniel Walmer covers public safety for The Sentinel. You can reach him by email at dwalmer@cumberlink.com or by phone at 717-218-0021.