Juveniles charged in relation to Village and Coffin vandalisms

Police Chief Dennis King said at last Thursday’s Task Force Against Discrimination meeting that multiple juveniles have been charged with property crimes related to the vandalism of the Village School and old Coffin School that took place this past spring.

According to police, the vandalism involved antisemitic and homophobic graffiti, and took place on different days in March.

King was brief with his report. Per state law, juvenile records are to be kept confidential, and King was not able to release any additional information.

“That’s an active case and has juveniles involved,” he said. “I’ve made it very clear to anyone who has requested information that juvenile records are confidential and, absent a court order of very extreme circumstances, we just don’t give information out. That’s the law.”

The report came after King spoke about a recent graffiti incident at Grace Community Church. King reported that an investigation is underway and, so far, no suspects have been identified.

He noted that removing hateful graffiti as quickly as possible is a priority in vandalism cases.

“We worked very fast with Grace Church, very fast in terms of removing it,” King said. “Removal is very important, documenting it, and then investigating it.”

In June, the church, located at 17 Pleasant St., was at the center of an incident in which Pride flags placed outside of Pleasant Street Preschool, which rents space inside the church, were removed by members. On June 18, more than 150 people came to the church in protest.

Task Force member Deacon John Whipple asked King if providing a reward for finding the vandals would help the investigation, but King said that is not the department’s preferred method.

“That’s not something we usually lead the way on,” he said.

Two members of the task force, Chris Bruell and Reece Dahlberg, proposed the creation of an emergency-response subcommittee. Dahlberg noted that the wheels had been in motion to create a Pride committee, but the motivation to create a wider-ranging committee was influenced by the vandalism at the church.

“This was a catalyst to become something bigger,” she said.

This was the task force’s first meeting since the Grace Church incident. Task Force Co-Chair Helaine Hazlett assigned Whipple with the responsibility of drafting a letter in response to the acts of vandalism.