Police arrest man for vandalizing Emory Autism Center with racist graffiti, swastikas

HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

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HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

A former part-time Emory University employee was arrested on allegations he vandalized the Emory Autism Center with racial slurs and swastikas, authorities said Wednesday night.

Roy Lee Gordon Jr. was charged with second-degree burglary, Emory officials said in a news release. The release did not say what type of work Gordon did for Emory or how long he was employed at the university. An Emory spokeswoman said doesn’t have additional information to share about Gordon.

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Former Emory University employee Roy Lee Gordon Jr. was arrested on second-degree burglary charges. PHOTO CREDIT: DEKALB COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE.

Former Emory University employee Roy Lee Gordon Jr. was arrested on second-degree burglary charges. PHOTO CREDIT: DEKALB COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE.

Combined ShapeCaption
Former Emory University employee Roy Lee Gordon Jr. was arrested on second-degree burglary charges. PHOTO CREDIT: DEKALB COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE.

Emory Autism Center staff members arrived there on Aug. 9 to discover graffiti depicting racial slurs and swastikas, officials said. Emory police issued a warrant for Gordon’s arrest on Aug. 20. The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office partnered with Emory in Gordon’s arrest.

“This case was a priority for our entire department, including our security systems team,” Emory Police Chief Cheryl D. Elliott said in a statement. “I’m proud of the work from the team and our law enforcement partners to recognize the sensitivity of this case to our community and bring a resolution.”

The center is part of Emory’s department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Emory University School of Medicine and the Emory Brain Health Center. It provides clinical, educational and medical supports to individuals with autism from childhood through adulthood.

Acts of antisemitism have increased at schools in recent years, several studies have shown. U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., who is Jewish, spoke out last week against a recent spate of antisemitic acts at some Cobb County schools.

University of North Georgia professor Matt Boedy filed a police report last week saying he received an anonymous letter with the image of a swastika on a mask. Boedy has been an outspoken proponent for mask mandates on University System of Georgia campuses.