2000-01-08 / Front Page

‘Baby Jesus’ Defiled

Nativity

Piece Spray-Painted

By Joan Ward George

Members of the Rockaway Action Committee (RAC) were appalled earlier this week to find that the statue of the Baby Jesus laying in the manger in front of the Christmas tree on Beach 116 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard had been spray painted with red paint.

Mary Leahy, founder and former president of RAC and other members of that organization, have been responsible for placing the familiar lighted Nativity scene in front of the Christmas tree for the past several years. Together with the holiday tree and the overhead Christmas music, it always portrayed an extra added presence of the true meaning of the holiday. Those who faithfully believe that "Jesus is the reason for the season" say they felt that the Nativity scene at Beach 116 street kept everyone focused on what Christmas is truly about, the birth of the Christ child.

When Mrs. Leahy and another RAC member, Cathy Dandurand, went to retrieve the Nativity scene earlier this week, what they found was a red paint-splattered baby Jesus statue. Last year, on the other hand, the baby Jesus statue was found to be wrapped in a blanket that a neighborhood woman thought would add some warmth to the scene.

Was the statue the victim of a random act of some neighborhood kids out on a graffiti run, or was it an intentioned act of hatred?

The 100 Precinct has been notified of the crime and the area’s beat cops will be putting out "feelers" to catch the culprit(s).

It will be up to the leadership of RAC to decide if they will press charges. Restitution, in the least, will be required of whoever committed the act.

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