38 headstones vandalized at Franklin County cemetery

Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 11:16 PM EDT
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ST. ALBANS, Vt. (WCAX) - The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is investigating vandalism at a St. Albans cemetery. Now families are left picking up the pieces and bearing the bill.

Thirty-eight headstones were damaged or knocked over at the Holy Cross Cemetery, which is owned by the Diocese of Burlington.

Ellen Kane, with the diocese, says this is the most destruction done at a cemetery in her time working there.

“It’s just so disrespectful; I’m not sure why anyone would do something like that,” she said.

Kane says vandalism isn’t a new problem among the Diocese of Burlington’s 87 cemeteries, but the damage at Holy Cross is considered extensive.

“It’s really horrible. On August 10th in the evening sometime, the cemetery was vandalized,” Kane continued.

As of Tuesday, there were still headstones on the ground and monuments cracked in half, many in the older area of the cemetery.

Frank Cioffi has family buried there. He came across the vandalism when he visited to pay his respects last Thursday.

“It’s pretty unsettling to see a place that’s designed to be perpetual memorials for people who have died be vandalized,” Cioffi said.

Cioffi says the memorials for his relatives weren’t damaged, but he’s trying to help mend the ones that were.

My niece set up a GoFundMe page; It’s raised $2,000 so far,” Cioffi told WCAX News. “I don’t know what the cost will be to repair the older stones because they’re really brittle.”

According to the website Funeral Circle, a basic headstone costs an average of $2,000, an expense the diocese says falls on the families.

Kane says homeowners insurance usually covers headstones. If people don’t have that and can’t afford repairs, she says the diocese will do their best to help.

“I’m just hopeful people realize how harmful this is to the individual families and hurtful,” Kane said.

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