Trinity Heights vandalized
By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
March 31, 2005
Trinity Heights Queen of Peace in Sioux City was vandalized and volunteers
are still cleaning up the graffiti. The vandalism occurred some time between 5
p.m. on March 23 and early morning on March 24, Holy Thursday.
Six teenage boys have been arrested for the vandalism - two are still being
held by the law and four were turned over to their parents and on house arrest.
The trial dates have not be set yet.
"They came up and pleaded with me. They really feel bad about it. At
least they act like they do," said Duane Sudbeck, the building and grounds
supervisor at Trinity Heights, who attended the initial hearing on March 28.
"This is serious. They didn't just take one thing."
He added that he asked them why they did it and they replied, "I don't
The vandalism included the four new statues in the Way of the Saints, the
33-foot Sacred Heart of Jesus statue, the two statues at the Our Lady of Lourdes
Shrine and the Knock Shrine as well as several benches, sidewalks and plaques.
Ten of 12 statues were damaged including Mother Theresa, St. Joseph and Padre
The teenagers also threw three dozen eggs between the Jesus statue and the
Mother Theresa statue. They painted the toe nails of the Christ statue red as
According to Judy Verschoor, a Queen of Peace employee, the words that were
written on the various statues and sidewalks were "filthy, very evil and
anti-Catholic. It was against the pope, the Blessed Mother, Christ and the
saints. We are just sick about it."
"What are we going to do now? The paint is on concrete, on marble,"
said Sudbeck. "We are almost trying to figure out what to do with an
The city of South Sioux City sent over their soda blaster, a graffiti
removing machine, and a team of men to work the machine. The machine is an
air-driven cleaning system that blasts either ground-up corn husks, sodium
bicarbonate or potassium sulfate out of a hose and onto most surfaces removing
paint without causing damage.
"They got it cleaned up pretty good," said Sudbeck. "This soda
blaster that they are using is better than I ever thought."
Several of the Trinity Heights volunteers have also been helping in the
clean-up efforts. As of March 29, the volunteers were continuing to work on
cleaning up the grounds and getting things back to close to normal.
"I still hate to walk out there because all this stuff was so
beautifully white and crystal clear," said Sudbeck. "It's just a
Sudbeck commented that the Mary statue got beat up with a hammer one time but
other than that, nothing like this has ever happened before.
"My worst thoughts are that we may not get it back to where it was
before," said Sudbeck. "We've got to replace a couple of the statues
unless a miracle happens."