House Page Dismissed After Swastika Incident

The House page believed to be responsible for painting a swastika on the dormitory door of a fellow messenger has been dismissed from the program, sources familiar with the case say.

A 17-year-old Jewish page from New York, sponsored by Rep. Gary Ackerman (D- N.Y.), awoke to find the swastika last November, the morning after he and a group of pages were involved in an argument.

A spokesman for Ackerman said the individual responsible for the anti-Semitic vandalism is “no longer in the page school,” but could not confirm whether any disciplinary action was taken, stating only: “In the end, justice has been served.”

Capitol Police suspended a criminal investigation into the incident this week, citing a lack of evidence.

Police initially questioned eight male pages about the vandalism, taking fingerprints and handwriting samples – all of which proved inconclusive, according to police spokesman Sgt. Dan Nichols.

Despite the lack of concrete evidence, one source familiar with the case said the Page Board knew who was responsible and that he “had many problems in the past.”

The House page program consists of 64 high school juniors, appointed by members of Congress, who run errands and attend school on Capitol Hill. The positions are highly coveted, and selection is considered an honor.

They live on two floors of a House office building, where access is restricted and visitors must sign in.

Rabbi Levi Shemtov, director of the Washington office of the American Friends of Lubavitch, said the incident should not be regarded as “inconsequential.”

“It’s obviously very disturbing, but also extremely isolated in my experience on the Hill to see any overt anti-Semitism,” said Shemtov, who is active with Jewish Hill staff and last year hosted the pages for Friday night Shabbat dinner.

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