Former Northwestern students plead guilty in Alice Millar vandalism, avoid felony charges


Source: Cook County sheriff's office

Matthew Kafker (left) and Anthony Morales (right).

Madeline Fox, Reporter

Former Northwestern students Matthew Kafker and Anthony Morales pleaded guilty Monday to one misdemeanor charge for criminal damage to property, down from 24 felony charges, Kafker’s lawyer said.

Kafker and Morales originally pleaded not guilty to two dozen felony charges, half of which were hate crime charges, related to the March 11 vandalism of Alice Millar Chapel. Kafker’s lawyer, Barry Spector, said the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office dismissed 23 of the charges and amended the final felony charge to a misdemeanor after taking into account the defendants’ records and the consequences they faced from NU.

University President Morton Schapiro and University spokesman Al Cubbage confirmed to The Daily in an April interview that Kafker and Morales were no longer enrolled at NU, but could not discuss any other specific details due to student privacy laws.

The two former NU students, who were also sentenced Monday, are required to serve two years of supervision and pay restitution of just under $16,000 total to NU.

Spector said supervision allows the men to apply to have their record expunged after they complete their two years. He said their sentence will consist of completing 150 hours of community service, refraining from consuming any alcohol or drugs or breaking any laws, and undergoing a drug and alcohol evaluation and following any treatment recommended as a result.

University Police found homophobic, anti-Semitic, racist and otherwise offensive graffiti inside Alice Millar Chapel on the morning of March 11, including in the chapel’s offices. The graffiti included a swastika, drawings of male genitalia and the word “Trump.”

Kafker and Morales were arrested for the vandalism March 12. A grand jury indicted the two men on the 24 criminal charges in April. The criminal charges included four counts of burglary, four counts of institutional vandalism and two counts each of criminal damage and criminal defacement of property, in addition to the 12 charges of hate crime to a church, synagogue or place of worship.

In May, Spector said Kafker was “incredibly intoxicated” on the night of the chapel vandalism.

Spector said the prosecutor’s office took into consideration that Kafker and Morales had already been asked to leave NU and that being connected with the vandalism limits their future opportunities.

“This is in no way a slap on the wrist,” Spector said. “There were severe consequences to (Kafker’s) action that night, but when the prosecutor and judge took into account the perfectly respectable life he’s lived before that day and since that day, both felt (the sentence) was the proper disposition.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misquoted a word in Spector’s final quote. Spector said the prosecutor and judge felt the sentence was the proper “disposition.”

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