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Internet chat may have fueled ex-girlfriend's anger

By Danielle M. Williamson TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
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TEMPLETON- One of two teens charged in a spate of church vandalism incidents on Good Friday was arrested for allegedly stabbing her ex-boyfriend after trying to poison him, court records show.

Danielle A. Griffis, 19, of Templeton, was released without bail last week after being arraigned in Gardner District Court on one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Templeton police arrested Ms. Griffis, who is on pretrial probation in connection with the vandalism case, on July 20 after her ex-boyfriend said she came to his trailer and sliced his left arm with a knife.

She is scheduled to return to Winchendon District Court Sept. 2 in the assault case.

According to a report from Officer Timothy A. Desmarais, police went to the Peaceful Pines campground after midnight July 20 to interview a 20-year-old man who said he was physically assaulted by his ex-girlfriend, whom he identified as Ms. Griffis.

"Two hours before, she stormed into his trailer with a knife and tried to force him to drink a poisonous drink," Officer Desmarais wrote.

The man told police Ms. Griffis' anger may have stemmed from an Internet conversation, during which he "may have said some hurtful things."

The pair wrestled in the man's trailer as he tried to take the knife away, Officer Desmarais wrote. During the fight, Ms. Griffis allegedly stabbed the man on his left bicep, causing a 4-inch cut. Police said they saw the cut, as well as large scratches on the man's arms, back, stomach, chest and neck.

Police said they went to Ms. Griffis' home to ask her about the incident, and she gave them several explanations for why she had brought a knife to her ex-boyfriend's home. She told them she brought a knife to protect herself in case he would not let her leave, but she also said she used it to fight back after he sexually assaulted her, court records show. She also allegedly told police she only brought the knife to show it to the man.

"I found her (statement) to be inconsistent with that of what she originally reported," Officer Desmarais wrote.

She told police the man had sexually assaulted her, but police did not see any evidence of abrasions, marks or cuts. Officer Desmarais notified the department's sexual assault investigator of her allegations.

Prosecutors filed a motion in Gardner District Court July 23 to seek Ms. Griffis' medical records after the alleged assault. The motion was allowed.

Ms. Griffis also is awaiting a Sept. 10 appearance in Gardner District Court on a variety of charges related to her alleged tagging of six churches in Gardner, a Phillipston church and Narragansett Regional High School.

The vandalism case is likely to be resolved at that time. Court records note that the case is on for a probable disposition for both Ms. Griffis and Phillipston resident Brian D. Griffin, the other suspect.

The bulk of the vandalism took place at six churches in Gardner: Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, Holy Spirit, Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Paul's Episcopal, Chestnut Street United Methodist and Bethany Baptist. A disparaging comment about Jesus' mother, as well as obscenities and the words "brainwashed zombies" were among the spray-painted messages, which were promptly removed.

Phillipston Congregational Church and Narragansett Regional High School also were tagged.

Mr. Griffin, 20, turned himself in to Gardner police March 25 and was arrested and charged with 24 crimes related to the vandalism in that city, and has since been charged by Templeton and Phillipston police. Ms. Griffis spoke to Templeton police April 2, prompting the three area departments to take out complaints against her at different times for the crimes in their communities.

The pair, described as boyfriend and girlfriend in court records, said their anti-Christian spray-painted messages were not prompted by hate, but rather, boredom and the desire to offend.
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