- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 27, 2005

From combined dispatches

Vandals stole or damaged 3,000 crosses at Louisiana State University that were set up as part of a silent pro-life protest against the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.

The attack on the crosses this week, put on the LSU Parade Grounds to decry the anniversary of the ruling that declared abortion a constitutional right, prompted special outrage from LSU Students for Life because a campus police officer saw five persons removing some crosses from the public space early Monday morning, but did not immediately report the individuals.

“This was not meant for people to just go out and do what they want. This was reserved. Everything was legit,” one organizer told the Baton Rouge Advocate.

Maj. Ricky Adams of the LSU police department told the Daily Reveille student newspaper that the officer identified the vandals and ordered them to leave. He said the officer did not arrest the individuals.

Maj. Adams told Baton Rouge TV station WAFB on Wednesday that five LSU students had been arrested. He said the students were issued misdemeanor summons for criminal mischief and referred to LSU’s dean of students for disciplinary review.

Similar pro-life exhibits at Oregon State University, at the University of Pennsylvania and in Redding, Calif., have been vandalized in the past month.

Mary Higdon, president of LSU Students for Life, told the Daily Reveille that Monday’s attack was not the first instance of vandalism since the group set up the exhibit Saturday, when it consisted of 4,000 crosses, representing the number of abortions performed daily in the United States.

She said vandals stole and burned crosses, spelled out “pro-choice” in broken crosses and spray-painted part of the exhibit.

“This is not a game,” Miss Higdon said. “This is private property.”

The crosses were on loan from St. Mary and St. Joseph Family Memorial Foundation, whose president, Richard Mahoney, told the student paper that he has lawyers prepared to file suit.

“Defacing a religious symbol is a hate crime,” he said, adding that the vandals damaged more than $9,000 worth of private property, which should be prosecuted as a felony.

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