Police are investigating, as possible bias crimes, two acts of graffiti vandalism on local churches. The incidents took place at the recently merged Holy Family and St. Anthony–St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Churches, which were each spray painted with the word “Abuse.”
Joan Dougherty, a Holy Family parishioner, found the message on February 16th and notified police.
Although the styles of the markings were somewhat different, it is believed that they came from the same source and the reports have been referred to the NYPD’s Hate Crime Unit, who will determine whether a hate or bias crime occurred.
“The message is obvious,” Dougherty said. Holy Family’s Father Sojan agreed. “It’s a hate crime. This is the wrong message to have in front of the church. It was some kind of malicious act that should not be repeated again.” In his two years at the Church, he said he had never encountered a similar incident.
Assemblyman Joe Lentol didn’t need to wait for a police report to form an opinion about the vandals’ motivations. “Defacing property is not only illegal, but when it targets faith based organizations it brings the seriousness of the act to another level. I hope the NYPD is able to find the perpetrators of this hate crime.”
“One of the most important things is not that it’s a graffiti crime,” said Dougherty. The idiot that wrote “abuse” was smart enough and thought about that word. It’s a vicious crime.”
Anyone with information about the graffiti should contact the 94th Precinct at (718) 383-3879.
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