Man Arrested After Defacing Catholic Cemetery With Swastikas, Anti-Catholic Language

(Image provided by the Providence Police Department)

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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A man was arrested after he spray-painted swastikas and anti-Catholic language on gravestones at a Catholic college in Rhode Island, numerous sources reported. 

Keveon Gomera, 26, is charged with vandalism and assault with intent to commit a felony after he allegedly vandalized the graves of several Dominican friars and assaulted a security guard Monday at Providence College, Catholic News Agency reported.

Security was reportedly alerted of a “suspicious man” at the cemetery which contains the graves of the deceased Dominican friars who taught at the school. When the officers approached the man, he had painted swastikas and anti-Catholic language on the central cross in the cemetery and on several headstones, according to a statement from Fr. Brian J. Shanley, O.P., and Fr. Kenneth Sicard, O.P., the president and president-elect of the college. (RELATED: French Police Reported Nearly 900 Acts Of Anti-Catholic Vandalism In 2018. What Is Going On?)

The individual was also “actively burning American flags that stood at some of the gravesites,” the statement continued, according to Catholic News Agency.

Providence police said that the man also tried setting the area around the gravestones on fire, as reported by NBC 10. He then reportedly hit the officer in the head and ran away before being later found hiding in bushes on campus, where he was arrested.

A witness who only wanted to be identified as Philip told NBC 10 that he believes he and some friends came in contact with Gomera, who the witness said was talking about Providence College (PC) being part of “slave plantations.”

“We [were] walking inside the campus last night and we ran into a gentleman. He had a bucket, a small bucket of paint, in his hands. He was just talking about PC being part of, like, the slave plantations. We didn’t really pay attention to what he was saying, but the last thing he said to us was that he was going to go burn the American flag somewhere on campus,” Philip told NBC 10.

“We loudly and unequivocally condemn this racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Catholic action, and the desecration of the gravestones of our beloved, deceased Dominicans who served Providence College so well and so faithfully for many years,” the college’s statement said.

“In addition, we condemn this action in support and solidarity with the Jewish members of our community, many of whom enjoyed the friendship of those late Dominican friars. PC has a long and proud history of collaboration with the Jewish community in Rhode Island,” they added.