Marin County DA defends restorative justice measures in statue destruction case

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Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Marin Co. DA defends restorative justice measures in statue vandalism
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Those involved in destroying a religious statue in Marin County ended up with misdemeanor convictions instead of felonies after going through restorative justice measures. But some community members remain outraged.

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (KGO) -- Those involved in vandalizing and destroying a religious statue in Marin County ended up with misdemeanor convictions instead of felonies after a court resolution. That has some community members outraged.

The incident happened back in 2020 and the district attorney says restorative justice measures were used here.

Signs that say "End Anti-Catholic Hate Now" and chants of "Stop Christian Hate" could be seen and heard in San Rafael Tuesday.

RELATED: Marin County DA files felony vandalism charges for St. Junipero statue damage, Archdiocese of SF says

All in reference to the vandalism and destruction of the Saint Junipero Serra statue outside the Saint Raphael Catholic Church in San Rafael three years ago.

Felony charges were immediately filed against five people but those have now been reduced to misdemeanors.

"It's a slap in the face of all of the people who believe in the religious community and were very disturbed over what happened," former radio host Melanie Morgan said.

Marin County District Attorney Lori Frugoli says the five involved in this vandalism have participated in a restorative justice program. She defended the court's resolution.

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"These defendants agreed to participate in the restorative justice process," Frugoli said. "They went through two years of meetings with a practitioner that works in our office who thought that they were sincere in their beliefs and their remorse."

The district attorney says those individuals attended 18 classes during that time but the group rallying Tuesday believes that is unacceptable.

"It's nothing but a slap on the wrist and people are tired of it and rule of law needs to be followed in this country," Joe Tassone with Catholics of Marin said. "It's woke people tearing down this stuff. That's the problem, there is an agenda behind it, an anti-Christian agenda happening all over the country."

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"This started when a group of vandals, a group of thugs, some very destructive people came here and tore down the statue of Father Junipero Serra," Morgan said.

The five defendants must also pay monetary restitution for the repair or replacement of the statue, complete 50 hours of volunteer work, and participate in a community forum with a historian involved.

"We hope that that community forum can be something where both sides understand and appreciate each other's beliefs so that people don't resort to committing crimes; and be heard and understood," Frugoli said.

The five defendants must also apologize, which the district attorney says will come in the form of a written apology.

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