Grand jury indicts teens accused of hate crimes at Glenelg High School

Jess Nocera
Contact ReporterHoward County Times

A Howard County grand jury has indicted the four Glenelg High School students charged with hate crimes after swastikas and racial epithets were found scrawled on the school’s property in late May, the state’s attorney’s office said Friday.

Tyler Curtiss of Brookeville, Matthew Lipp of Woodbine, Joshua Shaffer of Mount Airy and Seth Taylor of Glenwood — all 18 — each face identical seven-count indictments, including three hate-crime charges.

The four were released on their own recognizance and were ordered not to leave the state without a judge’s permission.

In the wake of the indictments, which were issued Wednesday, District Court trials scheduled following their arrests in May have been called off, according to court records, and the four are to appear in Circuit Court next month.

Attorneys for two of the teens declined comment Friday. A lawyer for another could not be reached, and no attorney information was listed in online records for the fourth teen.

On May 24, swastikas and racial epithets, including one that Howard County police said targeted the school’s African-American principal, were found painted on school campus sidewalks, outside walls and the parking lot. Community, religious, school and political leaders immediately denounced the vandalism and called for unity.

The four each face three counts related to race or religious harassment, two destruction of property-related charges and two trespassing charges, according to court records and a state’s attorney indictment summary released Friday. All of the charges are misdemeanors.

The graffiti was discovered before a morning awards ceremony for Glenelg graduating seniors.

Police said they used images from surveillance cameras to help identify the four suspects. Neither the police nor school system would confirm if they were members of the graduating senior class.

It was the second incident of its kind at the school in two years. According to State Police “hate or bias” reports, graffiti depicting swastikas and an anti-African American racial slur were discovered inside one of the school’s bathrooms in March 2017. No suspects had been identified at the time of the report last year.

jnocera@baltsun.com

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