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Janesville woman tentatively charged with hate crime for hanging effigy doll

Published On: Jul 16 2013 07:08:02 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 17 2013 02:26:45 PM CDT
effigy doll

A Janesville woman is being charged with a hate crime for allegedly hanging up a black doll in effigy on her front porch.

Investigators arrested 54-year-old Deborah Boudreau for disorderly conduct with a hate crime enhancer.

Officials said she hung a 3-foot doll from her porch on South Academy Street with a noose around the neck and the arms pinned up.

Boudreau allegedly told her neighbor -- a black woman -- to come and see it.

"I said 'Debbie, what is this?'" said neighbor Gloria Moccaldi-Boone.

"She thought it was hilarious. Well, this isn't funny to me so I'm going to leave," said Moccaldi-Boone.

Moccaldi-Boone, along with her husband and four children, have lived in the neighborhood for about four years. She said seeing the effigy on her neighbor’s porch was deeply troubling.

"This was like a punch in your brain to see something like that, knowing our history. It's in our history to be murdered that way. That was awful," saod Moccaldi-Boone.

She said she and her husband are a little more guarded when they leave their home.

"We have children. We have three girls and one son so I'm thinking if you can do this and think it's funny and so boldly, what else would you do?" said Moccaldi-Boone.

"The suspect Debbie Boudreau also made comments -- offensive, derogatory comments about the victim’s race saying, 'I couldn’t believe this person called the police,' and she was using derogatory and offensive names," said Deputy Police Chief John Olsen.

Olson said crimes like this are rare in the city. Olsen said the doll was taken down and found on the steps of a nearby business. The incident remains under investigation.

Moccaldi-Boone said she's pleased with the swift action the Police Department took. She said hearing from the chief personally made her family feel comfortable staying in the community.

"It's 2013 and we know a lot of racial injustices still go on, but hopefully by my family having to experience this. Maybe if the message gets out maybe another family won't have to go through this," said Moccaldi-Boone.

If convicted of the maximum charges, Boudreau faces a $10,000 fine and a year behind bars.

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