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Police seek suspects who vandalized Catholic Mount Auburn Cemetery

Updated:

WATERTOWN, Mass. - Police are searching for the vandals who desecrated a gravesite at a historic cemetery in Watertown.

"It's difficult, there's 14 Catholic priests buried here,” said cemetery historian Bill McEvoy.

Watertown’s Mount Auburn Cemetery is right on the Cambridge-Watertown line, the Catholic Mount Auburn Cemetery where the vandalism happened is a separate but adjacent piece of land. Vandals spray painted red graffiti on the gravesite of prominent Catholic priest Manasses Dougherty, who founded many Catholic churches in the area and was buried here in 1877.

"This monument has been here for over 100 years, untouched and respected and someone took it upon themselves to desecrate it,” said neighbor Richard Haughey.

On the front of the monument vandals wrote, "we all die.” There were also two bands stenciled on the back and side.

"I'm sure the members of those bands would not want to see their likeness used in such a way,” said Haughey.

There are 23,000 people buried at the cemetery, predominantly Irish Catholics from the 1800s, including McEvoy's great-grandparents on both sides. McEvoy spent 4.5 years researching this 7-acre cemetery.

"What upsets me most is I know everyone buried here,” said McEvoy.

This cemetery is run by the Archdiocese of Boston.

A crew tried cleaning the graffiti Friday, but the stone is too porous, so they will have to sand blast it.