St. Mary of the Knobs vandalism

The Floyd County Sheriff’s Department is asking for information on a statue that was vandalized this week at St. Mary of the Knobs in Floyds Knobs.

FLOYDS KNOBS — The Floyd County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a report of vandalism at St. Mary of the Knobs Catholic Church in Floyds Knobs.

According to a Facebook post from the department, a report of vandalism was made this week. A photo attached shows a small statue of Mary with the misspelled word “Harlat” in red. It also shows red markings around the top of her head.

Greg Otolski, director of communications at the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, said the damage also included the word “hell” spray-painted on the doors of a small chapel, not the main church doors. The damage was reported Tuesday and may have been done early that morning or the previous night.

“I think more than anything it just causes a lot of sadness that somebody could be that disrespectful of someone else’s religious beliefs,” he said. The church is reviewing safety and security measures at the parish.

He added that the damage does not indicate a threat to the St. Mary school on the property, which has about 280 students from preschool through eighth grade.

“We have a lot of safety procedures at the school,” he said. A letter sent to parents this week from the school’s principal outlined the security already in place — doors are locked during school hours, there are a series of surveillance and doorbell cameras and the teachers are equipped with two-way radios when outside the school.

After the vandalism, administrators met with teachers to review safety plans and make additional security measures. The walking track will now be closed during PE, and additional police presence has been requested around the entire property.

“We understand that your children are your most valuable possession, and we take their safety and well-being very seriously,” the letter says, in part. “Thank you for entrusting us with their care.”

A similar letter was sent to parishioners to let them know about the vandalism and how the church is responding, Otolski said.

As of Thursday afternoon, the post from the sheriff’s department had garnered almost 500 shares and 70 comments, including people calling the act “horrible” or “disgusting.”

“I feel like crying!!!! beautiful Mother,” one comment read. Another asked for forgiveness for whoever did it.

“Why would someone do such a thing?? God forgive them they no not what they are doing,” it reads.

Anyone with information in this case is asked to contact the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department Criminal Investigations Division at 812-948-5407. Callers may remain anonymous.

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