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Dartmouth alumnus to pay restitution for vandalizing menorah

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/30/2022 10:29:40 PM
Modified: 12/1/2022 10:49:22 AM

HANOVER — A Dartmouth College alumnus will avoid being prosecuted for his role in vandalizing a campus menorah display nearly two years ago, providing he stays out of legal trouble and fulfills other requirements ordered by the court, according to a recent court filing.

Zachary Zhao Wang, a member of the Class of 2020 and now in law school in Texas, must submit to a drug and alcohol evaluation to assess need for treatment, share the cost of restitution with his accomplice, perform 100 hours of community service and meet with members of the Jewish community organized through the Rohr Chabad Center at Dartmouth, the college’s center for Judaism and fellowship, court documents show.

The “conditional nol pros” agreement between the Grafton County Attorney’s Office and Wang mirrors in many respects the agreement reached earlier this year between the county prosecutor and former Dartmouth student Carlos Wilcox, who along with Wang was indicted and charged with shooting out the campus holiday display of menorah lights and college buildings on the night of Dec. 15, 2020, according to court records.

If either Wang or Wilcox fail to fulfill the terms they signed in order to get the charges dropped, they can be re-indicted, the documents state.

“The agreement filed on behalf or Zachary Wang is essentially the same as that filed by the co-defendant Carlos Wilcox,” said George Campbell, a Manchester attorney representing Wang. He added the legal matter “has been resolved amicably and in the interests of both parties.”

Wang’s case is now officially closed, according to New Hampshire Superior Court records, while there is no longer any record of Wilcox’s case in the state court system, suggesting the record has been expunged.

“I believe both of these were appropriate outcomes based on the information we had and the discussions we made sure to have with the various people involved and affected,” said Marcie Hornick, Grafton County Attorney, via email.

Wang’s resolution brings to a end, at least as a strictly criminal matter, an act of desecration against a symbol of one the most revered holidays in the Jewish year.

The act of vandalism shocked both Jews and non-Jews in the Upper Valley, more so because it echoed locally a disturbing rise in blatant antisemitic speech and violence — from racist diatribes made by celebrities to mass shootings of worshipers in synagogues — around the country in recent years.

“We value the many contributions that the Jewish members of our community bring to the Dartmouth family. The vandalism to the menorah was an affront to everything Dartmouth stands for: diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging,” Dartmouth spokesperson Diana Lawrence said. “With Hanukkah just weeks away, and in light of the unsettling rise in antisemitic rhetoric nationwide, we are reminded of the responsibility each of us has to stand up to prejudice, discrimination, and hate in all its forms.”

The agreement notes that Wilcox has already fully paid $1,901.82 in restitution to Dartmouth College and that Wang is now in turn to pay half that amount, or $950.91, to Wilcox.

Wang, who majored in classics at Dartmouth, is currently enrolled in law school at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, according to his personal website, which describes him as a “top law student” and on the dean’s list.

Campbell, Wang’s attorney, said that his client “harbors no animosity toward the Jewish community, and in fact his girlfriend is a member of that community.”

Wang did not respond to messages for comment on Wednesday.

Contact John Lippman at jlippman@vnews.com.




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