Skip to comments.Cousins charged with felonies in Holy Hill vandalism (older one expresses no regrets)
Posted on 06/10/2006 5:22:10 AM PDT by NYer
West Bend - Two cousins were charged with a felony crime each on Friday in the desecration of Holy Hill and, according to authorities, the older of the two admitted what he did but had no regrets.
Tyler B. Groth, 21, of Neosho and David J. Groth, 17, of Hartford each face up to 3 1/2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted of criminal damage to religious property.
Tyler Groth told investigators that he and his cousin used red spray paint in a spree of vandalism at Holy Hill on Tuesday, according to a criminal complaint. The investigators then asked Groth, according to Washington County Sheriff Brian Rahn, "Do you feel sorry for what you did?"
"No," the sheriff quoted Groth as saying. "It was just something I did. I just wanted to have some fun."
Tyler Groth was arrested on the Holy Hill grounds on Wednesday, as he and his cousin showed four friends the vandalism from the night before, according to a deputy's report. David Groth ran off that night but was arrested Friday morning, hiding behind a bed in a friend's home in Richfield, Rahn said. David Groth has been charged as an adult.
Unlike his older cousin, David Groth refused to speak to investigators, according to Rahn. No physical evidence has been recovered, he said.
Asked why he committed the vandalism, Tyler Groth said in an interview broadcast on WTMJ-TV (Channel 4): "I'm a punk. It's what I do."
Tuesday's date was 6-6-06. In the Bible, the New Testament's Book of Revelation says triple sixes are the mark of the Antichrist.
According to the criminal complaint, Tyler Groth said he and his cousin decided to spray paint walls, statues and other parts of Holy Hill because it was "Satan's birthday."
Tyler Groth told investigators that he painted "Hail Satin," a misspelling of Satan, and a devil's face in different places and that he sprayed paint on a statue of Jesus, according to the complaint. Tyler Groth said David Groth painted "I'm glad they killed Jesus" and "Hell Will Rule" in various places on the property, the complaint says.
Father Cyril Guise, director of the shrine - formally known as the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians - said in an interview that no estimate of the amount of damage had been made but that a contractor's crew of about five had been working steadily since Wednesday.
"It's a gentle procedure so they don't destroy the statues," he said.
Guise said worshippers handed him donations to help pay for the repairs after Mass on Friday, as many others had done for the past three days. He called the vandalism "obscene," a description echoed by Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who announced Friday he would say a Mass of Reparation at Holy Hill at 4:30 p.m. today.
The cousins made their initial appearance on the charges in Washington County Circuit Court Friday. They told Judge Patrick Faragher that they understood the charges but made no other comments.
District Attorney Todd Martens asked the judge to set bail for both, saying the vandalism was "an affront to the faith of tens of thousands of Washington County residents." But public defender Paul Czisny argued that "this is not a day to punish."
Faragher said he would release Tyler Groth on a signature bond while the case is pending. He said the vandalism is a "very terrible thing" but comparable to "tagging" or graffiti, and "not an assault on the Catholic Church." He also noted that Tyler Groth, who lives with his parents and works at a siding company, had no prior record.
Faragher set $1,000 cash bail for David Groth, a Hartford Union High School student who lives with his parents and is not employed.
Both defendants are scheduled to return to court Wednesday.
Rahn said the Holy Hill vandalism appeared to be a prank rather than part of any occult activity. He said he thinks the cousins returned with friends to Holy Hill on the day after the vandalism to show off.
"In their minds, they were proud of what they had done," Rahn said.
I was just angry that someone would do that. After Mass, I settled down.
- Richard Kontny,
Archbishop Dolan's visit comes days after the historic grounds of the shrine were desecrated. Restorative work has begun on the vandalized areas.
"With the rest of our community, I am shocked and saddened by the outrageous acts of sacrilege at the Shrine of Our Lady Help of Christians on Holy Hill," said Archbishop Dolan. "For over a century, Holy Hill has been a sacred site for prayer, reconciliation, love, mercy, healing, and the lifting up of mind and heart to Jesus through His Mother. Tuesday it became for a moment a site of hate, evil, sin, and darkness. This shows us that bigotry, hatred of Christ and His Church, sin, and Satan are still very much with us. It also reminds us that 'the gates of hell will not prevail.' I will go on pilgrimage Saturday afternoon and offer Mass in reparation for these offenses, and pray in gratitude for the holiness and grace that will continue to flow from this Holy Hill from Jesus and Mary."
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Of course. Evil and stupid. I hope they go to jail for as long as possible. These are the kind of people who might do anything.
Maybe he wants to be a gay "interior decorator".
Dumb and even dumber ... returning to the scene of the crime to boast. They should be forced to clean up their mess.
They have "the look." They're better off in jail, imo. Unfortunately, they'll probably walk because of their age, without even having to clean.
It would be nice if, somewhere in the story, we could be told where this is.
The Map shows it just north of Milwaukee.
Normally yes, they should have been forced to clean it up.
But in this case, they would have likely caused even more damage trying to clean up.
As far as not being sorry, that should cost him dearly.
Oh, charged as adult. 6 months each.
It's in southeastern Wisconsin, just outside of Milwaukee.
I have the feeling that we'll see these fine boys' pictures in the newspaper again someday.
I pity their future victims.
Is flogging really and truly a cruel and unusual punishment? I'm having some doubts.
For those of you who aren't in or from the Milwaukee, WI area, Holy Hill is an uniquely beautiful Catholic shrine and cathedral located about 35 miles north of Milwaukee on top of a 1,300 foot hill in the Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest area. It's so striking beautiful that it attracts tourists and Christians of all denominations, including many Protestants. What was done was a horrible desecration. Even those of us who aren't Catholics should give our Catholic friends our sincere condolences for what happened.
Please see my post, no. 15. I lived in the Milwaukee area for almost 13 years before I moved to Knoxville, TN about 18 years ago.
"Hail Satin" alert. :D
From the look of these two, they are cousins, brothers, uncles and nephews, simultaneously.
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