Former W&L student charged in vandalism case

Perpetrator’s graffiti incident deemed a felony

Leslie Yevak and Maria Rachal

A former Washington and Lee student, Sheamus Craugh, 20, of Kinnelon, New Jersey, has been charged with one count of vandalism following an incident that occurred March 3.

The Sustainability House, a student residence on Nelson Street, as well as several cars in the area, were spray painted with what appeared to be anti-gay graffiti. The offense is considered a felony because the damages amount to more than $1,000.

Craugh’s initial hearing was set for 1 p.m. on March 25. According to the Rockbridge District Court, Craugh failed to appear for his initial hearing.

Craugh was not charged with a hate crime because sexual orientation is not a class protected by Virginia law, according to Virginia Code 52-8.5C.

Craugh was a sophomore at the university but withdrew in the days following the incident.

The Executive Committee responded with an email to the university condemning the act.

“This attack was an attempt to define our community as hateful and unwelcoming, a definition we cannot let stand,” the email said.

But Executive Committee President Mason Grist, ‘18, said the act was not indicative of how the rest of the W&L community feels. On the day following the incident, students, faculty and staff gathered in the Commons Living Room to show support for the targeted student.

Grist said open dialogue is necessary for the university community.

“I hope that, if anything, [the event] just prompts healthy, good conversation about how we could be more inclusive at W&L,” Grist said.

Correction: The print version of this story, published in The Ring-tum Phi April 4, failed to make clear that Craugh is charged with vandalism.