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Mom pleads guilty to helping commit anti-Semitic vandalism

A Northridge woman was ordered to attend parenting classes after pleading guilty to helping her daughter and the girl’s friends smear feces and scrawl swastikas and “Jew” on homes, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Catharine Whelpley, 43, pleaded guilty to one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and was ordered to complete a year of parenting classes and 80 hours of community service at the Jewish Family Services food and resources program.

If Whelpley abides by those terms, the case will be reduced to an infraction, L.A. city prosecutors said. Whelpley already has attended the Museum of Tolerance program with her teenage daughter and has written an apology letter to the victims.    

“It is important that persons responsible for such conduct, including parents, have taken responsibility for their improper actions,” City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich said in a statement. “Hopefully, these enforcement actions will deter others from engaging in such bad conduct.”

According to prosecutors, Whelpley drove her 14-year-old daughter and her daughter’s two friends, age 13 and 14, to the San Fernando Valley home of one of their former middle school classmates April 3 to exact revenge on the victim for an unspecified reason. 

Once there, the teens threw toilet paper into the trees and on the property, prosecutors said. The girls then allegedly poured maple syrup on the front porch and smeared human feces on a vehicle at the property, according to prosecutors.

The mom then drove the teens to a second Valley property, officials with the city attorney's office said, where the teens again teepeed the premises, smeared feces on the porch and poured syrup on the vehicle.

Whelpley's daughter wrote "Jew" and drew swastikas in maple syrup on the victim's property, prosecutors allege.

After waiting in the car during the vandalism spree, Whelpley drove the girls back to her home, prosecutors said. The vandalism was reported to the Los Angeles Police Department after the teens' alleged exploits were captured on a neighbor's surveillance camera.

Whelpley originally was charged last month with three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, as well as two counts of vandalism, two counts of trespass and two counts of tampering with a vehicle in connection with aiding and abetting the juveniles.

It was unclear if any legal action was taken against the girls.


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-- Andrew Blankstein

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