EASTON, Pa. – A neighbor accused of harassment and use of racial epithets against a black Pennsylvania family for years is sentenced to prison.
A Northampton County judge sentenced the 45-year-old Robert Kujawa to the term Friday after a jury convicted him of ethnic intimidation, harassment and stalking, the (Allentown) Morning Call reported.
The prosecutors said Kujawa hung Confederate flags from the windows of his Bethlehem Township home, but only those that are with the black family to stay, and used a racial slur against the woman and her son when they were in the backyard. Kujawa lawyer denied his client, who is white, used the slur.
Family members said the man used a pellet gun to shoot out their exterior and cause damage to their furniture.
Judge Jennifer Sletvold noted that Kujawa was sentenced for the harassment of the family in 2015, and the following year admitted to recklessly endanger.
“In the course of many years, Mr. Kujawa robbed this family of their peace,” Sletvold said.
Kujawa apologized Friday, saying that he is losing his house to foreclosure and he is planning to leave the state as soon as his 10th grade daughter graduates.
“I’m really remorseful,” he said. “I’m really sorry that I at this point.”
Assistant district Attorney Abraham Kassis said Kujawa the prosecution ends a long ordeal for the family, who he praised for their restraint in turning to the police. Family members said that they bought a security system, lighting and a fence, but were afraid to allow their sons to play in the garden.
For an ethnic intimidation conviction, authorities must prove that a suspect is a separate violation, in this case, stalking — for bigoted reasons. The Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing shows that in 2014 and 2015, with only 22 adults were sentenced statewide.
Information from: The Morning Call, http://www.mcall.com