Madeline Cramer charged with hate crime for vandalism at Denver Catholic Cathedral

DENVER — A suspect has been charged by the Denver District Attorney’s Office with a hate crime in the vandalism of a 110-year-old Catholic cathedral.

Madeline Cramer, 26, of Denver, was charged Thursday with criminal mischief and bias-motivated felony, misdemeanor, for allegedly spray-painting anti-Catholic and obscene graffiti on the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and surrounding statues.

Messages found on October 10 included an upside-down cross; “F—ts of Child Rapists”; “Satan” and “Satan lives here”; “white supremacists”; “KKK”; a possible swastika; an illuminati and an eye symbol; “Jesus was here”; “Suck my d—k” and “Love wins,” according to the district attorney’s office.

Damage to Denver Cathedral, dedicated in 1912, was estimated at around $10,000.

The warrant says the suspect was confronted by a worshiper during the incident. She turned herself in to authorities on Wednesday after initially fleeing to Oregon. His next court appearance is scheduled for February 14.

At least 113 U.S. cases of anti-Catholic arson, vandalism, and destruction have been tracked since May 2020 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, a spike that coincided with the spurred Black Lives Matter mass protests by the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

“Incidents include arson, decapitated statues, severed, broken and painted limbs, defaced headstones with swastikas and anti-Catholic language and American flags burned next to them, and other destruction and vandalism,” the conference said on its website.

Perhaps the most destructive incident was the July 2020 fire that burned down Mission San Gabriel in Los Angeles, which celebrated its 250th anniversary in September. The damage was estimated at several million dollars.

“We call on our elected officials to come forward and condemn these attacks. We thank our law enforcement for investigating these incidents and taking appropriate action to prevent further harm,” the USCCB said in an Oct. 14 statement. “We are also calling on community members to help us. These are not mere crimes against property – it is the degradation of visible representations of our Catholic faith. These are acts of hate.

The conference’s Committee on Religious Liberty and Committee on Homeland Justice and Human Development have requested additional funds from the Department of Homeland Security’s nonprofit Security Grants Program.

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