An 18-year-old Palo Alto man who spray-painted racist and sexist messages on the walls of Gunn High School in May 2014 pleaded guilty on Dec. 23, 2014, to a felony charge of vandalism, Santa Clara County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Brian Welch said Friday.
Sean Berry will be sentenced on Jan. 26 to 60 days in county jail, though he is eligible to complete that sentence through the county's Weekend Work Program, an alternative program to jail sentences for low-risk offenders, Welch said. Berry will also be placed on probation for three years and is required to complete a bias prevention class with the county.
Berry and a 17-year-old, who has not been identified because the person is a minor, were arrested in late May for the graffiti incident. The graffiti -- spray-painted over walls throughout the school -- targeted specific ethnicities and the school principal at the time, Katya Villalobos, mocked the school football team and made reference to the class of 2014, Gunn student newspaper The Oracle reported at the time.
Math teacher Rajeev Virmani discovered the graffiti early in the morning of May 12, 2014, Oracle writer Shawna Chen reported. On their own initiative, students took stacks of paper and rolls of blue tape and covered the messages. Police later documented the damage and maintenance staff painted over or washed off the graffiti.
Welch said that Berry will also be required to pay retribution to cover the costs of removing the graffiti, an amount to be determined at his sentencing. Welch said the police officers who investigated the incident estimated that the cost could exceed $25,000.