Early Saturday morning the Department of Public Safety apprehended a Georgetown student suspected of defacing the Copley Lawn statue of the Virgin Mary with red paint on March 21, according to Crime Prevention Coordinator Joseph Smith. Smith said the student was found as he was about to spray paint graffiti onto the stone wall near the statue.
“The suspect, a Georgetown University student, is alleged to have committed the red spray paint defacing of the Lady of Fatima statue,” Smith wrote in an e-mail. “This suspect was apprehended while he was about to commit an act of vandalism and subsequently admitted to the previous defacing. He is also implicated in other acts that occurred contemporaneously with the one he was about to commit.”
According to DPS’s crime log, the student was detained while in possession of spray paint and was charged with “a series of recent vandalism incidents.” The log says the detention was made at 12:58 Saturday morning near Copley Hall and that the case is still under investigation.
On February 19, the face statue of the Blessed Mother was painted black. On March 21, the same statue was found with red paint on its face, particularly dripping down from the eyes. The student has admitted to committing the second act of vandalism.
Director of Media Relations Andy Pino said that the Metropolitan Police Department was called to the scene. However, MPD did not file a report on the incident, according to MPD and DPS’s records. Smith said that while MPD is aware of the situation, they have not been involved.
In addition to the incidents involving the Virgin Mary statue, the statue of World War II hero and Georgetown professor Jan Karski was found with its face painted black on March 2. Additionally, there have been several instances of anti-Semitic and anarchist graffiti on and around campus in recent weeks.
“In response to the recent spate of graffiti and defacing attacks, DPS has and continues to conduct an enhanced enforcement posture against vandalism of university property,” Smith wrote in an e-mail.
Smith said that the vandalism incidents were all ongoing investigations and that he could not discuss their details.