More charges possible against students accused of vandalizing Frederick Douglass statue

December 17, 2018 10:30 PM

Rochester Police said more charges are possible against two St. John Fisher College students who admitted to vandalizing and trying to steal a statue of abolitionist icon Frederick Douglass.

John Boedicker, 20, and Charlie Milks, 21, were both suspended from the school on Monday, the same day they were arraigned in Rochester City Court.


The two were charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief but Rochester Police reported investigators had been discussing the charges with the Monroe County District Attorney's Office and explained that more severe charges for the vandalism are possible, as were possible hate crime charges.

For instance, while the formal complaint listed the cost of the damage to the statue at $250, officials described that number as merely a placeholder in the documentation pending a more precise estimation of the damages.

Members of the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commemorating Committee said the damage was vastly more than that. They looked forward to getting the statue back in the next few days to evaluate its condition and its future. They did promise to install a replacement statue within a few days.   

"Not only is it a monetary thing, because I don't want any money," insisted committee supporter Michele Daniels, who helped finance that particular statue and unveiled it herself. "I hope they are made to volunteer, to create, to recreate that statue. I want them to stand around and help the people who love and care about Frederick Douglass and his legacy."

In messages to News10NBC, Boedecker and Milks admitted to the vandalism and asked for forgiveness.

The two said they were drunk when they took the statue on Tracy Street early Sunday morning. They claim that they were heading home from the bar when they got a "bad idea" to take the statue. 

A statement from St. John Fisher College on Monday afternoon announced that the two had been suspended from school.

It said, "We have taken the strongest possible action available to us at this time."

Further action, it said, would await a student conduct hearing.

The statement went on to say, "The administration will cooperate fully with members of the law enforcement community."

In her own statement Monday afternoon, Mayor Lovely Warren called the incident "a sad event that demonstrates remarkable disrespect for the citizens of Rochester, especially those who have worked so hard to celebrate the legacy of Douglass during the 200th anniversary of his birth."

Milks, a member of St. John Fisher's football team, is due back in court on Jan. 3. Boedicker is due back in court on Jan. 9.


Charles Molineaux

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