Cemetery vandals' sentence: dig graves
By Dick Tuchscherer, Staff Writer
Noting that from "time immemorial" society has always dealt harshly with
those who desecrate graves. Lake County Circuit Judge Jack Hoogasian dealt
severe sentences to six Lake County men found guilty of vandalizing Millburn
The sentences include three months in jail, two years intensive probation and
digging graves at the century-old cemetery where they caused an estimated
$100,000 damage Sept. 3.
"I think the statement is appropriate," said Lake County State's Attorney Fred
Foreman. "The best way to stem such vandalism is to give them their own
medicine right back."
Prosecutors George Strickland and Kimberly Buol said they were satisfied
with Hoogasian's action.
Hoogasian found all six guilty of criminal damage to property following
two bench trials in December.
Five of the men were found guilty in one trial. (Editor's note: names and
addresses deleted from this presentation)
The sixth man, ______, was convicted at the second trial.
"I cannot understand why anyone, drunk or sober, would knock over
tombstones," Hoogasian said.
He cited the severe penalties that were assessed in other countries, mentioning
England and France and said even going back to ancient times penalties have
always been harsh.
Hoogasian's sentence was the same for all six and calls for 24 months in the
intensive probation program which is usually limited to 12 months. During the
entire two-year period the men will be under constant surveillance, can expect
visits from their probation officers at any time, especially during the first stage of
the program, and must observe evening curfew hours.
The six will also serve jail sentences beginning Friday and lasting until May
10, about three months.
When their incarceration time is completed they will be transferred to the
Lake County Work Release program until Sept. 6., but as soon as their jail
sentences are completed they must start public service work, working 40 hours a
week during the weeks of May 11 and May 18 at the Millburn Cemetery and
from then until Sept. 6, they must spend eight hours each Saturday and Sunday
working at the cemetery.
They will also be on call to do any grave-digging work at the cemetery on
weekdays. if the cemetery requires their services. Such work would be
credited toward their Saturday and Sunday hours.
In addition, the sentences include $500 fines plus court costs that
must be paid by Dec. 25.
The six must attend alcohol evaluation programs and follow all
The matter of restitution was reserved by Hoogasian until all the
repair work is completed.
Witnesses testified at the trial that all six men toppled monuments
and gravestones and a spokesman for a monument company said it
costs $75 to $100 just to right a tombstone even if it is not damaged.
Hoogasian said he received a letter from a member of one of the
families whose tombstones were damaged.
"Please don't pat them on the hand," he suggested in his letter
which Hoogasian read at the sentencing. "Give them a severe