Two Northwestern University freshmen have been charged with a hate crime after a chapel at the university was defaced with racist and homophobic graffiti, spray-painted images of penises, and the name of the Republican presidential front-runner.
Anthony Morales, 19, and Matthew Kafker, 18, are charged with institutional vandalism, hate crime to a place of worship, and criminal damage to property, the Chicago Tribune reports. They are being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
The damage occurred early Friday at the university’s nondenominational Alice Millar Chapel in Evanston, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. The vandalism included the spray-painting of “an expletive and a slur against African-Americans with a swastika on the chapel hallway” and “a derogatory word for homosexuals on a wall,” the Tribune reports. There were also “lines spray-painted over photos of Muslim students,” according to the paper, plus images of penises in various places, including on a piano. And in a stairwell, there was the word “Trump.”
The suspects were identified via surveillance video, which showed two people walking into the chapel about 12:45 a.m. Friday, the Tribune reports. Chapel staff discovered the vandalism later that morning and alerted authorities. Both young men admitted to having done the damage, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Brooke Shupe said in a court hearing Saturday, according to the Tribune. Shupe did not offer any theory about their motive.
Cook County Judge Peggy Chiampas lambasted the men during the hearing, calling the vandalism “disgusting,” the paper reports. “I don’t know if any of you know how lucky you are to be at Northwestern University,” she added. Morales’s mother cried as the judge made her statement, leading Chiampas to say, “I don’t mean to upset you. I mean to upset them.”