A Woburn woman has been charged with leaving paper swastikas in a Jewish woman’s front yard in Stoneham in November, according to court documents.
Kathleen M. Collins, 52, was charged last week with a civil rights violation and two counts of intimidating a witness, according to a report filed by Stoneham police in Woburn District Court. She allegedly left five purple swastikas with antisemitic statements written on them in the woman’s yard, the report said.
The woman and her fiancé found the swastikas, along with a melted black candle, on the morning of Nov. 1. The woman is a lawyer and had represented the father of Collins’s child in a custody case, her fiancé told police.
He gave the responding police officer a copy of a video from September showing Collins making “derogatory” statements about the lawyer in the background of a FaceTime call between Collins’s son and his father, according to the police report. The father sent the video to the lawyer, according to the report.
The father told police Collins had admitted to putting the swastikas in the yard and later texted him to “please do the right thing” and “please don’t go along with the narrative” as a witness in the case, the report said.
Peggy Shukur, the interim regional director of the New England chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, condemned the hateful messages.
“Vandalizing a family’s home with swastikas and antisemitic epithets is a very personal kind of hate at a time when the Jewish community is already feeling vulnerable,” Shukur wrote. “ADL’s 2022 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents showed a doubling of home-based incidents as compared to the previous year.”
Shukur said antisemitic incidents aren’t always reported and that the case was “unusual” because there was enough evidence to file charges.
Vandalizing a family's home with swastikas & antisemitic epithets is a very personal kind of hate at a time when the Jewish community is already feeling vulnerable. We hope justice in this case reflects how hateful this incident was & will restore a sense of safety for the… pic.twitter.com/PKGNgaBhej— ADL New England (@ADL_NewEngland) April 20, 2023
Collins could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon. She is set to be arraigned May 10.