Suspect wanted for vandalizing Denver church with swastikas, 'Satan Lives Here' graffiti believed to be in Portland area

A suspect accused of vandalizing an iconic Catholic cathedral in Denver, Colorado, is believed to be in the Portland metropolitan area.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

The suspect wanted for the October felony vandalism of an iconic Catholic church in Denver, Colorado, is now believed to be in the Portland, Oregon, area.

26-year-old Madeline Ann Cramer is accused of vandalizing the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver on the morning of Oct. 10 with anti-Catholic slogans spray painted in bright red on the outside of the building, sidewalks, and on the base of a statue of St. John Paul II.

Catholic News Agency reported that Cramer is a pro-abortion activist who was charged in 2020 with obstructing police and sentenced to one year of probation plus 48 hours of community service.

In an Oct. 2 video, Cramer said she was raised Catholic and baptized at Saint Frances Cabrini in Littleton, Colorado, but "the Catholic Church never felt right."

She said she had visited the St. France Cabrini parish webpage "and saw that they are actively supporting anti-abortion throughout the country."

Cramer alleged that the church "hate(s) women. You want to control women. You want to silence women." She concluded the video message, stating: "So stop just be honest you're not filled with love for God, for the baby, for the woman. You're filled with hate and you know it and we know it."

Deacon Chet Ubowski at St. Frances Cabrini in Littleton confirmed to Catholic News Agency that Cramer is the woman who approached the altar during Mass at the church just hours after she had allegedly vandalized the cathedral. During her interaction with the celebrant, she claimed to be a satanist, according to the outlet.

According to a Portland Police Bureau press release, "Cramer's whereabouts are currently unknown, but [Denver Police Department] investigators reached out the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) when they obtained information that Cramer may be in the Portland area. They requested PPB alert the public and request help."

The church was spray painted with numerous offensive messages, which appalled parishioners and clergy. According to CBS Denver, the graffiti had messages that said "Satan Lives Here" as well as references to "child rapists" and hate groups.

The words were spray-painted in blood-red text on the main bronze double doors, with further hateful graffiti, including swastikas, scattered across the cathedral grounds. Denver residents were shocked to see the defacement of an iconic landmark; however, the Conference of Catholic Bishops declared the graffiti at the cathedral to be the 100th incidence of vandalism, arson and destruction of Catholic property nationwide since May of 2020 amid public antagonism.

"It continues to be troubling to see the increased reports of vandalism at Catholic churches, both across the county and in our archdiocese, and it is certainly unfortunate when our parishes are targeted simply because of our beliefs," the Archdiocese of Denver told FOX31 in a statement on the church's defacing.

Since February 2020, the Archdiocese of Denver is aware of at least 25 parishes or ministry locations that have been the target of vandalism, property destruction, or theft, the statement cited, naming broken windows, damaged and defaced statues, graffiti, attempted arson, vehicle damage, stolen religious items, and other break-ins and thefts. More than 10 incidents have occurred in the last six months.

Two weeks before, a Catholic church in Boulder was vandalized with anarchist symbols and pro-abortion messages.  In late August, Curé d'Ars, a predominantly African-American parish in North Denver, was broken into and robbed, with the church's Eucharist being among the items stolen. Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Denver was graffitied in June with red paint.

"Some of the incidents have been clearly targeted at the Catholic Church, but not all of them," the Archdiocese of Denver continued in the statement. "The number could be higher because some minor incidents are not always reported. We continue to pray for the conversion of those who carry out acts of desecration against our churches, statues, and religious symbols."

Director of the chapel, Reverend Samuel Morehead said his staff was alerted to the graffiti after they arrived at the church to prepare for Sunday mass.

"Of course, it's a Sunday morning so we're preparing for multiple masses down here and hundreds of people coming to the cathedral. At the very least it's a big distraction. At worse, a horrible discouragement to our people and our greater community," Morehead said in the statement.

Dave Murray was visiting the cathedral from Sacramento when the vandalism was discovered. "This isn't random, this isn't generic, this isn’t secular. This is definitely attempting to offend the faith," Murray said.


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