Palo Alto man pleads guilty to Gunn High School graffiti incident

Graffiti included racist, sexist messages

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.

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Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 2, 2015 at 2:56 pm

Is a mug shot of the perp available? Thank you.

3 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 2, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Sad way to start one's adult life.

2 people like this
Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 2, 2015 at 4:29 pm

Nothing forced Sean Berry to go out and vandalize Gunn. So he should definitely bear the full consequences of his actions.

Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 2, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Were either of the vandals students at Gunn? What was their motivation for this hate attack?

3 people like this
Posted by class of 2014
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 2, 2015 at 7:44 pm

Sean Berry graduated from Gunn HS in 2014:
Web Link
Maybe this was a (very un-funny) senior prank.

Like this comment
Posted by Jerks
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 2, 2015 at 10:13 pm

Fine the perps and their parents.

7 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto style
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2015 at 8:40 am

How come no one has tried to minimize his vandalism by calling him a kid like that other 18 year old at Paly who invaded a house? Why hasn't the weekly printed his photo?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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