LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Lincoln Police cited a University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor for vandalizing Senator Deb Fischer's office and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry's political signs in October.
According to Lincoln Police, on Tuesday, Patricia Wonch Hill was cited for three counts of vandalism for incidents that took place on Oct. 21.
Wonch Hill is a research assistant professor of sociology at UNL, according to the University's website.
Betsy Riot stickers were found placed on Senator Fischer's office.
LPD said the forensic identification unit analyzed the signs and stickers at three locations of vandalism and found Wonch Hill's fingerprints at all three.
"We are fortunate to live in a country that not only allows free speech, but also encourages open dialogue between differing perspectives," an LPD spokeswoman said. "LPD is committed to fairly and impartially protecting all citizens’ right to free speech. However, we will also hold accountable those who participate in unlawful behavior."
Lincoln Police said additional citations are still possible.
The University of Nebraska released the following statement to 1011 News:
"We do not condone vandalism. However, this is a personal legal matter based on actions of a faculty member on their own time, and they will have to take accountability for their actions based on the outcome of the legal process.
The University’s bylaw clearly state: ‘Staff members who violate laws prescribed by civil authorities may incur penalties attached to such laws. The University should not impose sanctions to duplicate the function of these laws.’”
According to court records from Alexandria General District Court in Virginia, we now have learned Wonch Hill was convicted of destruction of property with intent in January of last year and of disorderly conduct for an incident in October of 2017.
Both those cases were in Virginia.
The Washington Post reported that the sociology professor was found guilty of spraying fake blood on the steps of a home belonging to National Rifle Association lobbyist Chris Cox in January 2018.
In that case, she was ordered to pay a $500 fine, no contact with the family and to stay 500 feet away from their home. If she does not comply, she could own an additional $500.
She was also under a temporary restraining order that bars her from Cox’s wife’s business and from NRA offices in Virginia and Washington, D.C.
According to the article by the Washington Post, the prosecutor in the case said Wonch Hill crossed the line into a criminal act by committing vandalism and added that the incident distressed the Cox family.
Cox had testified that his two young children were home at the time. He said he was called home by the police, according to the report.
The Post article adds that Melody Vaccaro, vice president of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence, came to Hill's support. She said Cox was a hypocrite for demanding prosecution and a protective order over fake blood while lobbying for open carrying of deadly weapons across the country.