Woman charged with vandalism in connection with Nazi posters at Newport Harbor High School
Fullerton, CA – A 22-year-old woman was charged Monday with putting up Nazi propaganda posters around Fullerton College and Newport Harbor High School back in March.
Grace Elisabeth Ziesmer of Fullerton was charged with two counts of graffiti and one count of vandalism under $400, all misdemeanors, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
The posters included swastikas and SS mottos. However, Ziesmer was not charged with a hate crime because it was unclear if she had directed her posters at a particular person or persons for being Jewish, prosecutors said.
“It could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s conduct was directed at the schools because of their connection with the Jewish people or the Jewish religion,” the DA’s office said in a statement.
Ziesmer put up the posters around Fullerton College on March 4 and then around Newport Harbor High on March 11, the DA’s office says. At the time, the principal of Newport Harbor reported that about 10 posters with Nazi markings were posted all across the campus during the overnight hours.
Authorities did not immediately disclose how investigators identified Ziesmer as the suspect or what her motivation was.
The posters followed a controversial photo which surface on social media March 3showing students at an off-campus party saluting like Nazis around red plastic cups arranged to form a swastika during a game of beer pong. The party was attended by a few dozen teenagers from Newport Harbor, Costa Mesa and Estancia High schools.
The photo touched off a firestorm of criticism and prompted several community meetings. Newport Harbor High even brought in Holocaust survivor Eva Schloss, the stepsister of Anne Frank, to meet with some of the students involved.
Ziesmer’s next court hearing is June 6. If convicted as charged, she faces a maximum sentence of 18 months in jail.