A Cook County judge on Saturday lashed out at two Northwestern University freshmen accused of spray-painting racist and homophobic messages along with the name of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump inside a nondenominational chapel on the university’s campus.
“These allegations are disgusting to me,” Judge Peggy Chiampas said as she eyeballed Anthony Morales, 19, and Matthew Kafker, 18, her voice rising several times during a bond hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.
The judge ordered both men held in lieu of $50,000 bail for charges of institutional vandalism, hate crime to a place of worship, and criminal damage to property for several spray-painted messages at the Alice Millar Chapel earlier this week.
Both defendants, each dressed in T-shirts and jeans, said nothing during the court hearing.
The mother of one of the defendants cried as the judge laid into the young men, whom authorities said were captured on surveillance video going without permission into the chapel, located at 1870 Sheridan Road in Evanston, with spray cans at about 12:45 a.m. Friday.
“I don’t know if any of you know how lucky you are to be at Northwestern University,” the judge said. As Morales’ mother cried in the gallery, Chiampas said to the woman, “I don’t mean to upset you. I mean to upset them.”
Once inside the chapel, the pair spray-painted an expletive and a slur against African-Americans with a swastika on the chapel hallway, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Brooke Shupe told the court. In a separate area, they spray-painted a derogatory word for homosexuals on a wall, along with lines spray-painted over photos of Muslim students.
The young men also spray-painted penises in several places around the church, including on a piano in the chapel, above the word “God” in a hallway, and in a stairwell where they also painted the word “Trump,” authorities said, Shupe said.
Prosecutors did not say what they think sparked this act of vandalism.
Church officials discovered the damage later that morning and alerted a dean. The surveillance video was used to identify the suspects, authorities said.
Both men admitted their roles in the vandalism, giving handwritten and recorded statements to university police, Shupe said.
University officials estimated the damage to be more than $300.