An Oconomowoc woman who spray-painted disturbing rap lyrics on Kettle Moraine High School last spring was sentenced today to one year of probation and ordered to pay $328 in restitution to the school.
Erika M. Bredlow, 19, and co-conspirator Michael J. Rady, 19, were both originally charged with two misdemeanor counts of graffiti, after they tagged the school with the phrase “die yuppie scum” on March 1. Both submitted no-contest plea bargains in August in exchange for authorities dropping one of the two charges against them.
According to the criminal complaint, the duo tagged the school and a silo in the Town of Genesee with the phrase and another message that contained obscenities and threatened to kill people. The profanity-laced messages were from a rap song, authorities confirmed.
Rady was in court on Sept. 17, but his sentencing was delayed until Dec. 13. He enrolled in the 180 juvenile diversion program, and the court agreed to sentence him after he completes the program’s first phase.
Bredlow appeared in court on Sept. 20, where Judge Donald Hassin handed down his one year probation sentence.
Kettle Moraine High School Principal Jeff Walters spoke at the hearing to relate the impact the incident had on the Kettle Moraine community. He told the court that approximately 1,000 students left the high school that day as a result of the tagging, inconveniencing parents who had to leave their jobs to pick their children up, inciting fear, and disrupting the overall educational environment.
“On this day, learning became secondary,” he said during the hearing.
While defense attorney M. Elizabeth Waters tried to paint the incident as an overreaction by the school, prosecutor Ted Szczupakiewicz said that in the context of school shootings and other violence that the “reaction was reasonable by everyone involved.”
Waters argued that the incident represented nothing more than a graffiti incident and that the principal was “making a mountain out of a molehill.”
“This is not Columbine,” she added, referencing the mass shooting that occurred at a Colorado high school in 1999.
“This was not something to just completely freak out about, in my opinion,” Waters said.
The defense attorney said Bredlow was embarrassed about the incident and conceded, “She’s too old to be doing this kind of silly stuff.”
When asked if she wished to speak, Bredlow stated, “I’m sorry that I scared people.”
Hassin asked why she and Rady tagged the high school, to which she replied, “I don’t know. I wasn’t thinking.”
The judge reserved harsh words for Bredlow, who had attended Kettle Moraine High School before moving to Greendale High School.
Hassin called the crime “stupid”, “vicious”, “malicious”, and “ridiculous” as he made his ruling.
“The crudeness and baseness of this is not lost on the court,” he said, later adding, “There is no reason any community should have to put up with that.”
Hassin ultimately ordered Bredlow to be placed on probation for one year in addition to the $328 restitution payment.