ADL Praises Guilty Verdict of Self Proclaimed Neo-Nazi Mariusz Wdziekonski for Desecrating 57 Graves at Westlawn Jewish Cemetery
Chicago, IL, December 3, 2010... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the guilty verdict of self-proclaimed neo-Nazi Mariusz Wdziekonski in connection with the desecration of 57 graves at Westlawn Jewish Cemetery in Norridge Illinois.
Mariusz Wdziekonski, 25, of Norridge, was found guilty of a hate crime for institutional vandalism in excess of $300" and "unlawful acts on cemetery grounds." He is scheduled to be sentenced on December 17th, and faces a 3-7 year sentence. He has been held in the Cook County Jail on $250,000 bond since his arrest in February 2008.
"The Sheriff's Department deserves high praise for its handling of this deplorable anti-Semitic incident which is a hate crime against the entire community," said Lonnie Nasatir, ADL Chicago Regional Director. "The Sheriff's Office took the graffiti seriously from the moment it was discovered and we are grateful to Sheriff Tom Dart for his leadership in investigating this incident effectively and professionally."
"We also applaud the Cook County State's Attorney's Office for prosecuting this offender to the fullest extent of the law," Mr. Nasatir added.
On Jan. 6, 2008 cemetery officials found numerous anti-Semitic epithets and neo-Nazi and white supremacist hate symbols and words spray-painted on 57 headstones in the western portion of the cemetery. On February 2, 2008, Wdziekonski was arrested.
Police say Wdziekonski acknowledged that he is a member of the National Socialist Movement, the largest and most active neo-Nazi group in the country.
Experts from the Anti-Defamation League provided assistance to the prosecution in identifying and contextualizing the numerous white supremacist symbols found at Westlawn cemetery.
The Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism analyzes extremist activity and tracks domestic extremism in all its forms- from religious to political, from public displays to the internet.
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The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.