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Swastika drawn on dementia patient in care facility has family alarmed


As anti-Semitic incidents go, the one involving dementia patient Larry Morrow must rank as one of the most bizarre.

According to a report on the news website toronto.com, someone at the Glendale Care Centre on The Queensway in Toronto’s west side, where Morrow resides, drew a swastika on the bald spot on Morrow’s head with a black marker, with a happy face inside.

The offensive symbol was discovered by Morrow’s nephew, Shane, who, along with his uncle, is not Jewish.

After questioning staff at the centre, Shane Morrow learned that another swastika had been drawn on his uncle’s back, but that one had been washed off before his visit.

“I was thinking: How did he get his shirt off? Why was his shirt off? Did this guy pull his shirt over his head and was abusing him?” Shane Morrow told toronto.com.

He said he was told by a staff member that the perpetrator of the incident, “a younger man,” had been arrested and the situation was under control.

A statement released by Toronto Police Service said, “On Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, we received a call at 9:55 a.m. for an incident that had taken place, in the early morning hours, at 46 The Queensway.

“It is alleged that a man used a marker to write on another man’s head and body, in addition to other acts which interfered with the lawful enjoyment of the premises.

“The officers investigated and noted the markings were a few words and scribbles. No discernible images were found. Police are aware of an image of the man circulating on social media. This image shows what is believed to be a swastika on the man’s head. This marking was not visible to attending officers at the time of the original call. Today (Jan.9), the person responsible has been arrested. This matter is still under investigation and charges are pending.”

Responding to the incident, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs issued a statement on its Facebook page saying, “We are horrified by reports that an elderly man suffering from Alzheimer’s was brutally abused at a Toronto care facility. That someone would commit such a vicious assault on a human being in our society is almost beyond belief.

“We have reached out to the family member of the victim to offer support, and have contacted police and government to voice our serious concerns that something like this could ever happen.”

Morrow suffers from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and diabetes, and has been a resident at Glendale for two years, while on a waiting list to enter a retirement home.