L.A. Woman Pleads Guilty to Abetting Syrup Swastika Vandalism

A woman pleaded guilty to driving her daughter and two others to area where they defaced homes with syrup swastikas and toilet paper.

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Rachel Hirshfeld ,

Jewish community members
Jewish community members

A Los Angeles woman pleaded guilty last week to driving her daughter and two other girls to a residential area where they defaced the homes with syrup swastikas, human feces and toilet paper.

Catharine Whelpley, 43, entered her plea to one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, CBS news reported.

She was ordered to complete a year of parenting classes and 80 hours of community service at Jewish Family Services, said City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich.

According to prosecutors, Whelpley drove her 14-year-old daughter and friends to a former friend’s home, where they threw toilet paper into the trees and on the property, smeared human feces on the porch and poured maple syrup on the homeowner’s car.

Whelpley then took the teens to buy more toilet paper and drove them to a second victim’s home, where they similarly vandalized the property. At the second home, reportedly owned by the son of a Holocaust survivor, Whelpley’s daughter also wrote the word “Jew” on the sidewalk and drew swastikas in maple syrup, prosecutors said.

Whelpley waited in the car and drove the three back to her house, according to the City Attorney’s Office.

The girls were not charged, but were disciplined at school, according to CBS news. The court ruled that if Whelpley successfully completes the parenting classes and community service within the year, the case will be reduced to an infraction.

Whelpley also has attended the Museum of Tolerance program with her daughter and written letters of apology to the victims, according to the city attorney.

“It wasn’t really a planned thing…it was just supposed to be funny,” Catharine said, the Jewish Journal reported. “I knew it was mean, but I didn’t know it meant death and hate,” she added.

Whelpley claimed she drove the girls to the targeted homes with the belief that they planned only to toilet paper them, which Whelpley called “an adolescent prank,” adding that she only found out about the swastikas later on.