Teen gets probation for anti-Semitic graffiti
By Daryl Slade, Calgary Herald July 22, 2011
A teen who spray-painted anti-Semitic graffiti on two synagogues and a Holocaust memorial 20 months ago has not only affected the Jewish community but soiled the reputation of the city and province, a judge said in sentencing him on Thursday.
But the teen, who was 17 and a member of the Aryan Guard at the time of the offences on Nov. 15, 2009, will not have to spend any more time in jail.
"The breadth of harm is not just to the Jewish community, but to all of Calgary and the province of Alberta," youth court Judge Todd LaRochelle said in imposing 18 months probation, plus 100 hours of community service.
"Calgary is an active and vibrant city of over one million people and we do not want racism to enter on the minds of other people when they think of our city. It's a stain on the city and you need only look at Vancouver to see how the actions of a few people during the Stanley Cup playoffs have affected so many."
LaRochelle said he would have sentenced the teen to between 60 and 90 days, if not for the fact he had already spent more than two months in pretrial custody. Also, he did not want to deter the rehabilitative progress he has already made.
The community service, he said, should also include participation in a Holocaust educational symposium.
Adam Singer, president of the Calgary Jewish Federation, said he has no criticism of the sentence and that on balance, it strikes him as being fair.
He said the judge made it very clear he understood how serious the crime is and the effect on the Jewish community and on Calgary and that it is a "black eye" on our society.
"He completely got it," said Singer.
The Jewish community, including two Holocaust survivors, had a face-to-face meeting in a community conferencing provision under the Youth Criminal Justice Act earlier this year, to explain how his actions have adversely affected so many people.
The teen, whom his lawyer says has severed all ties with any white supremacist groups, previously pleaded guilty to wilfully promoting hatred, the first such case ever prosecuted in Calgary, and mischief causing damage to two religious places of worship - the Chabad Lubavitch and House of Jacob synagogues.
He also painted anti-Semitic slogans and swastikas on other locations in Pump Hill and Woodbine in the city's southwest. The swastika was accompanied by the words, "Kill Jews" or "6 Million More."
Surveillance video led to the arrest of the teen.
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The court also ordered the teen not to associate with white supremacists.