Man pleads not guilty to UpRising Bakery hate crime in Lake in the Hills

Joseph Collins denies hate crimes before drag show was set to go on

Joseph Collins, 24, of Alsip, inset, was charged with a hate crime and criminal damage to property in connection with vandalism that took place in July 2022 at UpRising Bakery and Cafe in Lake in the Hills.

A 24-year-old man pleaded not guilty Friday to charges alleging he smashed windows and spray painted homophobic slurs at a Lake in the Hills bakery last month.

Joseph Collins of Alsip was charged with one count of committing a hate crime and one count of criminal damage to property between $500 and $10,000, each a Class 4 felony. He also is charged with misdemeanor criminal defacement of property and criminal damage to property, according to the criminal indictment filed in McHenry County courthouse.

Collins is accused of vandalizing UpRising Bakery & Cafe on July 23 where a drag show was set to be performed later that day, leading the bakery to cancel the performance. It was later rescheduled after a dispute with the village over whether it could keep hosting events.

UpRising Bakery and Cafe owner Corinna Bendel-Sac talks to media about the drag brunch on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022.

If convicted of the felonies, Collins could be sentenced from one to three years in prison, but he could be sentenced to probation or conditional discharge. He also could be ordered to pay restitution and fines as well as perform at least 200 hours of community service in McHenry County.

If convicted of the felony hate crime, Collins also could be ordered to enroll in an educational program discouraging hate crimes, according to the indictment.

The charges allege he smashed the glass out of three storefront windows and one glass door with a bat, the morning before the bakery was to host a family-friendly drag show. He also is accused of spray-painting offensive words on the building.

UpRising owner Corrina Bendel-Sac reported harassment in the weeks leading up to the drag show, which was canceled after the cafe was vandalized.

Jacqui Murk, right, of Crystal Lake, and her daughter, Izzie, write notes of support on the boarded up window at Uprising Bakery & Cafe in Lake in the Hills, on Monday, July 26, 2022, after the store reopened Sunday after its front windows were smashed and epithets written on the walls, to long lines and enthusiastic community support. The cafe, which was planning to host an all-ages drag show Saturday night, had experienced backlash over the previous few weeks.

The day after the vandalism, the bakery reopened its doors, windows boarded up, to a line of people waiting to come in and show their support. The incident also prompted a visit from Gov. JB Pritzker who voiced his support for the bakery.

The village of Lake in the Hills initially told the bakery it could not host events, saying it violated the village’s zoning regulations because of the bakery’s proximity to homes. After attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union began defending the bakery, an agreement was reached allowing the bakery to host its events.

The cafe has resumed providing entertainment, including a drag brunch earlier this month.

Collins is due back in court Oct. 11.