Friday, April 28, 2006

Hate crime education

ROL: An education program for teenagers who vandalized an Orthodox Jewish bungalow colony has paid off.In September, Dominick DePrizio, Anthony Wingert and Raymond Surerus broke into the synagogue at White Rock, an Orthodox Jewish bungalow colony on Southwoods Drive. They spray-painted swastikas and Hitler's name on furnishings. They blotted out the faces of rabbis on old photos. Over the summer, their friend, Daniel Price, sprayed fire extinguishers around the grounds.All four teenagers were charged initially with hate crimes, which meant they faced mandatory prison sentences of at least 3½ years.District Attorney Steve Lungen hit upon the idea of sending the kids through a religious education program. White Rock's owners and the defense lawyers agreed, and Judge Frank LaBuda approved the program."I told them, if you want to get them out of (the hate crime), this is what they have to do," Lungen said. "You've sometimes got to try something a little different, a little novel."Three of the Monticello teenagers - Wingert and Surerus, both 18, and Price, 17 - took a week-long seminar with lectures and readings, led by a Sullivan County Community College professor. They met with a rabbi. They learned why swastikas are so repugnant to the Jewish people. They learned about persecution, and Hitler, and about how the Holocaust came to pass.Mark Sherman, Wingert's lawyer, said his client appreciates.......
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