Warwick man arraigned on felony for painted swastika

| June 24, 2010

WARWICK, R.I. — The young Warwick man accused of spray-painting a swastika and part of a racial epithet on a synagogue near his house was arraigned Thursday morning on a felony charge of desecration of places of public assemblage.

As is customary in District Court arraignments, Ryan N. Johnson, 20, of 222 Jefferson St., entered no plea to the felony. He pleaded not guilty to an accompanying misdemeanor charge of vandalism.

Johnson shook his head when asked for comment outside the courtroom. If found guilty of the felony, Johnson faces up to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

A 16-year-old boy who was also arrested along with Johnson is going through Family Court.

The vandalism to the Temple Am David was discovered on June 3, and Johnson and the teenage boy were arrested three days later. The police said the two were remorseful when arrested.

The cantor at the synagogue has said that he hopes to use this as a way to teach both Johnson and the boy about the meaning of the symbols sprayed on the walls, starting with having them court-ordered to learn at the Rhode Island Holocaust Education Resource Center in Providence.

Cantor Richard Perlman said he wants to meet with the boys and their parents, and then have the boys face the congregation to explain what they were thinking.



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Category: Synagogue/Jewish Security