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Amid monument debate, statue of St. Junipero Serra defaced in L.A.

An image of a defaced statue of St. Junipero Serra that appeared on social media on Aug. 17. The damage to the statue, located in northern Los Angeles, was quickly repaired. (Credit: Screen capture.)

As debate spread across America about removing statues and monuments of figures associated with painful chapters of history, a statue of St. Junipero Serra, canonized by Pope Francis during his U.S. visit in 2015 but linked by critics to abuses of Native Americans, reportedly was defaced in northern Los Angeles this week.

On Thursday, a picture of the statue of Serra painted red, with the word “murder” emblazoned in white, made the rounds of social media platforms, prompting several visitors to drop by to see if it had actually happened.

The statue is located in a park across from the historic San Fernando Mission, located in the Mission Hills area of Los Angeles.

Whatever damage occurred apparently was quickly cleaned up, and neither city officials nor spokespersons for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles would comment. However, a reporter for a local television station said she spotted red paint on one of the statue’s arms and a swastika on a statue of a child standing next to Serra.

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