Five male teenagers face charges of felony destruction of the historic Ashburn Colored School and misdemeanor entering the property to damage it, reports the Loudoun Times-Mirror.
Four of the accused are 16 years old and the other alleged vandal is 17. Because of their age, Virginia authorities have not released detailed information about them.
The Loudoun Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman believes they’re responsible for the Oct. 1 defacing of the 19th century school. They allegedly spray-painted swastikas, genitals and the phrase “White power” on the exterior walls of the one-room wooden building, located about 35 miles outside of the nation’s capital.
However, the accused vandals will not face hate crime charges because their actions did not meet the legal requirements.
According to the newspaper, a hate crime label requires intentional targeting over race, religion or sexual orientation. Prosecutors must also show that the vandals intended to intimidate the owner of the property they defaced.
The county Supervisor Suzanne Volpe questioned Loudoun Lt. Col. Robert Buckman about hate crime charges at an Oct. 20 board meeting.
“Folks want to know why they weren’t charged with a hate crime, and … I’m going to go ahead and ask the delicate question, can you tell us anything about the ethnicity or the background of these five teenagers?” Volpe asked the officer, according to the news outlet.
However, Buckman declined to identify the teenagers’ race because race is not taken into account when determining hate crime charges.
SOURCE: Loudoun Times-Mirror | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter