Former Professor who Faked Vandalism Gets Year in Jail

December 17, 2004

A former college professor convicted of staging a hate crime by spray-painting her own car with racist slurs was sentenced Wednesday to a year in prison.

Kerri Dunn, 40, was convicted in August of filing a false police report and attempted insurance fraud, and had faced up to three years.

The visiting psychology professor at Claremont McKenna College claimed her car was targeted March 9 in a hate crime while she was speaking at a campus forum on racial tolerance.

College officials canceled classes the next day as thousands of students took part in demonstrations calling for tolerance.

“There was testimony at trial that there had been some incidents on campus that may have been racially motivated and Ms. Dunn was upset that students hadn’t been more mobilized against that,” said Deputy District Attorney Martin Bean.

Bean said a police officer testified Dunn told him she had a fantasy “about making a million signs against hate.”

Dunn, who has been placed on leave, continues to deny the charges. Her attorney, Gary Lincenberg, has said he would appeal the conviction because jurors were barred from hearing testimony from a person who identified “a man who should have been the primary suspect in the vandalism.” He also said Dunn never filed a false insurance report.

The judge who earlier had ordered Dunn to undergo psychological testing said she has “severe mental illness,” according to a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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