Yukon man pleads guilty to disturbing religious worship

Gets three-year suspended sentence; must pay fines, court costs


By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

A Yukon man has been convicted after pleading guilty to disturbing a religious worship service.

Daniel Ybarra

Daniel Ybarra, 31, received a deferred sentence and was ordered to pay fines and court-related costs during a July 28th hearing in Canadian County District Court.

Ybarra was charged Jan. 9 with the misdemeanor crimes of disturbing public worship/religious meeting and obstructing an officer stemming from a Dec. 30, 2022, incident at St. John Nepomuk Catholic Church.

After Ybarra pleaded guilty July 28, Canadian County Special Judge David H. Halley gave him a three-year deferred sentence with one year of mental health counseling – plus fines and court costs – for disturbing the worship service.

The defendant also was ordered to pay court costs, a fine and victim’s compensation assessment for obstructing a Yukon police officer.

The fines and court costs total $800.50, which Ybarra was ordered to pay $25 per month starting Aug. 27.

He will be supervised by the Canadian County District Attorney’s office while on probation.

Ybarra had faced up to one year in prison and/or a maximum $500 fine on each criminal count.

He appeared for the court hearing with his attorney, Michael Branch.

The defendant violated state law “by willfully disturbing, interrupting and disquieting an assemblage of people who were meeting for religious worship,” according to the charging document signed by Canadian County Assistant District Attorney Micheal Oglesby.

Ybarra also obstructed Yukon police officer Joey Rushing in the performance of his official duty by failing to obey a lawful command.

Yukon Police received a 911 call about a male who walked into the church wearing dark clothes with a hat pulled down to hide his face, carrying a black bag on his shoulder to intend to confront people inside.

Yukon Police Capt. Christopher Brugh responded to the disturbance call about 3:26 p.m. last Dec. 30 at St. John Nepomuk Catholic Church, 600 S Garth Brooks Blvd.


911 CALL

Witnesses observed Ybarra walk up to the altar in the church chapel during the worship service of adoration and begin to reach into his bag – fearing he was retrieving a weapon, according to a probable cause affidavit signed by Capt. Christopher Brugh.

“Ybarra grabbed a gold-colored Monstrance, which was on the altar and placed upon a gold stand, and picked it up off the altar,” Brugh wrote in the affidavit. “Those in prayer stopped their service and began to yell at Ybarra to place the item back on the altar and not to touch this sacred item.”

Ybarra responded by yelling, screaming and using profanity. His behavior ended the worship service.

Witnesses tried to stop Ybarra and began calling for help, with one witness so fearful that she ran from the chapel to find help.

In the Catholic Church, the Monstrance is used specifically for the prayer service of adoration. It contains the Most Blessed Body Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, which is sacred and Holy in the Catholic Church.

When Yukon police officers tried to speak with Ybarra, he began yelling and refused to place his bag on the ground. He walked away from officers after refusing their directions to sit down.

Ybarra ultimately was placed on the ground and secured in handcuffs.

“Ybarra yelled about other religious beliefs, claiming he was using his First Amendment rights,” Capt. Brugh’s affidavit reads.

“Ybarra refused to provide his information on scene stating he needed an attorney.”