On the search for some Pokémon? There are people who walk around everywhere playing that game, so it isn’t too surprising that someone walked into a house of worship on the hunt for those anime critters. You’d think it’d be safe to play Pokémon GO in church. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? Apparently, it’s a real big deal if that church is in Mother Russia and you happen to film yourself doing it.
Back in August 2016, a YouTuber by the name of Ruslan Sokolovsky posted a video of himself playing Pokémon GO in a church. Sounds innocent enough, right? But he was trying to catch ’em all in the Church of All Saints in Yekaterinburg. So, trigger warnings went off and he was apprehended by authorities in October.
“How can one offend by entering a church with a smartphone,” he asked. “I decided to just catch some Pokémon in church because, why not? I believe it’s both safe and not prohibited by law. Let’s go.”
I guess Sokolovsky got more than he bargained for when he posted that video. His clip went viral and received over 2 million views.
Earlier today, Sokolovsky was convicted for his Pokémon-related transgressions. The crimes that were successfully brought up on this YouTuber, include inciting animosity, offending religious feelings and illegally purchasing a pen containing a small hidden camera, which would have to be licensed by the country’s security service.
Judge Yekaterina Shoponyak condemned this YouTuber’s actions and said the videos showed “disrespect for society.” The judge also believes that Sokolovsky “intended to offend religious sentiments.”
The court in Yekaterinburg issued a three-and-a-half year suspended sentence for Sokolovsky’s transgressions. His supports have created the #FreeSokolovsky hashtag on social media, which got the attention of news media. Sokolvsky says, “Without the support from reporters, I would possibly have been given a real prison sentence.”