By Debbie Gregory.
From the “How Do You Sleep at Night?” file:
A Rhode Island cemetery employee who was tasked with taking care of graves pillaged more than 200 granite headstones belonging to veterans, many of them still inscribed. The majority of them were used to build a floor for his carport at his residence.
It’s suspected that 59 year old Kevin Maynard, of Charlestown, R.I., has been taking the stones, a few at a time, since 2009.
Under normal circumstances, when headstones on the graves of fallen servicemen crack or fade, they’re taken away to be honorably destroyed. After that, the Department of Veterans Affairs replaces them.
Obviously, Maynard lied when he told state police and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that he had personally driven gravestones to the granite crushing facility as part of his duties at the cemetery.
Two of Maynard’s co-workers turned him in after hearing him brag about his dishonorable deed. One co-worker had visited the house and seen Maynard’s truck parked on top of as many as 75 gravestones.
Investigators found additional gravestones on his property, as well as a box of American flags allegedly stolen from the cemetery.
“Bottom line is he made the determination that he knew they were going to be destroyed anyway, so he simply took them,” said Kevin Bristow, Maynard’s lawyer.
Maynard was arraigned in U.S. District Court and is scheduled for sentencing towards the end of summer. A plea agreement will allow him to serve one year’s probation and 500 hours of community service.
The sentence seems to be light, especially when you consider how distasteful his acts were. Hopefully, this man will face a lifetime of snickers and jeers.
Maynard, who has since resigned, had been a state employee with the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery since 2006.
In total, 202 headstones have been recovered.
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Disrespecting Those Who Have Served: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory