Penn State student and former Acacia member Eric Hyland waived his preliminary hearing that was originally scheduled for Wednesday in regard to the Beta Sigma Beta fraternity anti-Semitic vandalism last semester, according to the Centre County Court Administrator’s Office.
Hyland, 19, of Export, and Hayden Grom, 19, of New Fairfield, Conn., were both charged with vandalizing cars outside of the Beta Sigma Beta fraternity, 255 E. Fairmount Ave., and Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, 508 Locust Lane.
“Young people are completely and utterly clueless,” Matt McClenahen, Grom’s attorney, said. “At the time he didn’t realize the significance of what he did.”
He said his client is sorry for what he did and is just beginning to understand the consequences of his actions.
“He’s one of the most remorseful clients that I’ve ever had,” McClenahen said. “These actions were not born out of anti-Semitism as much as they are born out of ignorance and stupidity.”
McClenahen said Grom knew nothing about who fought in World War II nor when it was fought. He also said his client didn’t know the term “national socialist,” didn’t know when they were in power and didn’t know anything about the Holocaust.
“My client has no clue about any of that,” he said. “These boys were drunk out of their minds on hard liquor.”
McClenahen said he is giving Grom a list of books to read and movies to watch to help him understand the impact of his actions.
He also said Hyland drew all of the swastikas except for one, which Grom imitated. He also said the swastikas were drawn backwards.
Police received calls on Nov. 8 that cars outside of these fraternities were spray-painted with anti-Semitic slogans, swastikas, the initials “K.K.K.,” sexual pictures and sexual phrases. The anti-Semitic vandalism was mainly targeted toward the Beta Sigma Beta fraternity, which is recognized as a Jewish fraternity.
Grom waived his preliminary hearing scheduled for Jan. 2, and McClenahen said this case will end in a “non-trial resolution.”
Both men were charged with ethnic intimidation, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.
Attorney Mark Bolkovac, Indiana, Pa., is representing Hyland, according to court documents. Bolkovac could not immediately be reached for comment.
Emily Chappell can be reached at email@example.com or (814) 865-1828. Follow her on Twitter at @EmilyChappell13.